June’s cover story spotlights the mountainous realms of western North Carolina, a collection of friendly towns and scenic places in the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area. As associate publisher Dave Bodle writes, groups will enjoy activities like shopping in downtown Asheville, touring Biltmore, getting in touch with Cherokee traditions and taking a ride on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.

Readers get a further taste of Appalachian culture in Dave’s piece on the Ohio river city of Huntington, West Virginia and environs. The Eastern United States also is covered in articles on Florida museum exhibits and the monuments and memorials of Washington, DC.

The Iowa Tour Guide, a special section, comprises a collection of articles on agritourism, ag innovation and culinary finds around the state, plus sample itineraries suggested by the Iowa Group Travel Association. “A Fresh Look at North Dakota” showcases new developments in the Upper Midwest.

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The Switzerland special feature covers the highlights of Geneva, Zurich and the Lake Lucerne region, with emphasis on religious sites popular with faith-based groups. Switzerland also gets some ink in our report on countries that are stepping up to become adventure travel hot spots.

Another highlight in June’s Leisure Group Travel is the eighth annual Group Itinerary Planning Guide, which presents 34 sample itineraries submitted by CVBs and other tourism organizations. Divided into South, Midwest, West and Northeast, the planner provides day-by-day details on trips that tour organizers may wish to offer their groups. Destinations range from Ocean City, Maryland to Elko, Nevada. A full page is devoted to each itinerary.

Tour planners who want to mix up their itineraries with train trips and sightseeing cruises will get a number of ideas from the June issue. “Scenic Rail Railroads Beckon Tour Groups” looks at popular tourist trains like the Mount Washington Cog Railway and Essex Steam Train. A companion piece provides a glimpse of top sightseeing cruises around the U.S., from Mississippi River outings to tall-ship adventures in Virginia.

Regular Leisure Group Travel columnists provide best-practices advice for tour planners. Marty Sarbey de Souto suggests extra touches that planners can employ to make their tours stand head and shoulders above the rest. Marketing columnist Dave Bodle offers tips on trade show preparation/follow-up and producing an effective email newsletter.