ITA Manifesto

We are Independent Tour Operators.
 
We bring culture and personality to travelers. We are teachers, guides, wayshowers. We are the lifeblood of a traveler’s experience, and through us they discover things they’d never find in a book or an app.
 
We make intimidating mountains accessible. We light a path through the darkness of dense jungles. We offer new views of the stars, glimpses of magical places in the oceans, and unpack the mysteries of bayous, wetlands, and swamps.
 
We share the epic stories of skyscrapers, the quiet whispers of the valleys, and the majesties of country roads.
 
Providing travellers with a once-in-a-lifetime experience has become our daily pursuit.
 
There are over 1,000,000 of us doing this work.
 
And yet so many of us tour operators…who were brave enough to invest in making our passions our work…can find ourselves adrift and feeling lost and alone when the winds of sudden change blow in quickly, loudly, in ways we did or could not expect.
 
In times like those…like these, we could use a guide of our own.
 
The travel associations of the 20th century were built for the 20th century, but the 21st century is more than officially here with its relentless pace of new technologies, huge (even cosmic) cultural, political, and economic shifts…
 
…all amidst digital environments that contain avalanches of conflicting information, perspectives, and advice that can be so challenging to navigate, or who or what to believe, let alone trust.
 
We’re founding the Independent Travel Association (ITA) to build a new kind of port in the storm….
 
A tour operator’s tour guide to the digital world…
 
One built specifically for this phase of the internet age…
 
…for independent tour operators who’d like to also become better business operators and masters of the digital landscape…
 
…without needing to “re-make” the mistakes that others before them have already made and found their way around quite well…
 
…who don’t want their tour operation to live or die at the whims of TripAdvisor’s cancellation policies or Google’s reviews…
 
…who seek a trustworthy, supportive, and well-organized community of peers and mentors to turn to when the so-called “certainties” of their world seem to be turning upside down.
 
We’re creating ITA for every independent tour operator in the world who looks out at all the digital technologies, marketing skills, and local laws they’re supposed to master to build a business and…
 
wishes you had reliable access to trustworthy tools, marketing know-how, mentorship, and peer support to make the process of growing your tour business…
 
…less like an intense hike up a dangerous mountain you’re unfamiliar with and more like a nature tour with an experienced guide.
 
For you, for all of us, ITA has set out to create that support structure.
 
Creating technologies for marketing your tours and managing your operations that are easy to learn and use…
 
Offering access to zero-commission bookings…
 
And building and growing a library of how-to guides, online video training and a community of peers…
 
Providing you the resources necessary to chart a path from “survival mode” to “thriving mode” no matter what challenges and obstacles the world seems to present.
 
A tour operator’s tour guide for the mountains, valleys, streams, and urban jungles of the modern world, so to speak.
 
So that if and when the landscape of travel shifts and feels uncertain, the question “am I alone in this?” is always clearly “no.”
 
And when you find yourself facing a challenge and wonder if someone else has figured out the way through before, the answer is “yes,” along with a step-by-step guide to “how, exactly.”
 
We are better, stronger, and faster…. together.
 
Will you join us?
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