The tour operators celebrate nearly 25 years of showcasing Colorado
How did you get started in the tour industry?
Lee: I had been driving motorcoach tours for over 15 years. After driving so many of the tours that I didn’t feel were done very well, my thought was that they could be done better.
Joan: I had worked in law offices for 30+ years and was burned out and wanted a career change. I am a Colorado native, have a passion for Colorado and love to travel.
Lee & Joan: It worked out that we had the opportunity to collaborate together on a tour for a historical preservation organization and realized that our thoughts, strengths and abilities were a good match, and in 1998 we decided to give it a go.
What sort of tours/programming does Leisure West Tours offer?
We specialize in Colorado because that is what we love and know the best. We strive to emphasize learning and education about Colorado so those who travel with us have an understanding of the places they visit and what they are seeing and why they are visiting that place.
What distinguishes Colorado visually and characteristically that makes it such an appealing destination?
We just finished a tour of National Parks and Monuments of Colorado. Each of the Parks or Monuments is totally unique from each other. The differences are so great that everywhere you go, you can see something new and different. People often think Colorado is just about mountains, but it is so much more than that if you have someone explain it to you and show you the differences. Learning about and appreciating the differences one can experience in Colorado, as well as the commonalities, it is possible to really appreciate the uniqueness of Colorado’s landscape, culture and beauty.
With nearly 25 years in the business, how has your approach to organizing trips changed, and do participants come with different expectations than 1998?
Tour participants used to want to be led by the hand, shown what they are supposed to see, and follow along. Now they are more independent and somewhat more informed because they can Google everything, and that means we need to be very informed about where we are taking them and what they will be seeing and experiencing.
Why is it important to also be active in Tour Colorado, primarily a supplier organization?
We find being a member of Tour Colorado gives us a much better relationship with our suppliers and we know that Tour Colorado members are interested in Group Tours. Also Tour Colorado suppliers know what group expectations are. This allows us to work well together in providing groups with the best possible experience. We are confident that Tour Colorado members understand and will meet our expectations and those of a group leader.