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October 25, 2016

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Rome-based NTA member shares what’s hot, new in Italy

NTA caught up with Gerry Smith of Italy Group Services Travel (iGs) before attending World Travel Market in London, Nov. 7–9. An NTA member since 2014, Smith talks about new group tour product, shares why partnering with iGs makes sense and gives a few emerging destinations for travelers.

Talk about the new group tour product iGs Travel has to offer?
For small-group and FIT travel, guaranteed departures. You can buy into our two classic tours with two departures a month, so there’s no need to achieve a minimum group number—you can sell for two or 22 people. For faith-based groups, good value-for-money religious Case per Ferie hotel accommodations all over Italy, in cities or countryside. And for adventure clients, we have tour itineraries to the island of Sardinia with amazing beaches, spectacular mountainous interior and Bronze Age nuraghi.

How does iGs Travel work with NTA members based outside of Italy?
For U.S.-based members, because we’re mother-tongue English, we understand them and their clients perfectly, so they treat us like an extension of themselves, like true partners. We know and understand what they mean when they have a group of Arkansas farmers or a choir from St Louis—we know the sort of people these clients are and what we must deliver for a successful, safe and happy tour. But the difference of course is the geography. We’re over here to provide that all-important local back-up when the groups are traveling. Despite that the quoting stage, operational stages, payments and general administration are all as simple as if they were booking a group to Canada. I suppose it comes down to culture; we are as culturally similar to our clients as any Italian DMC can be, and that puts NTA members very much at ease when trusting their valuable groups to us.

What are some popular emerging or lesser-known destinations?
Groups wanting to see more than just the most popular Italian cities are discovering the Friuli Venezia Giulia region in northeast Italy that combines the best of three countries, bordering Slovenia, Austria and the Adriatic Sea—it really is unforgettably beautiful. Sardinia also is an emerging destination for U.S. clients. And for a unique tour, we visit the incredibly ornate and well-cared-for little theaters of the Le Marche region, the land of a hundred theaters, with special private entrances and dinners. The Rossini and Macerata Opera festivals, Jazz by the Sea, Fano all are great for theater and opera lovers.

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