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The World is Your Classroom

What better way to get to know a destination—to really know a destination—than through a FAM designed by experienced travel consultants?

“FAMs provide an in-depth look into the area,” said Don McGahee, Manager of FAM Programs & International Chapter Development, ASTA Small Business Network formerly(NACTA). “We work closely with local suppliers, and plan sessions where speakers will address different aspects of the region. It’s difficult for advisors to help clients if they don’t know the area, and ASTA FAMs showcase the area’s attractions—they really go in depth.”

Each FAM day is packed with a full agenda: sightseeing tours including cultural centers, museums and famous local landmarks for a variety of interests. Whether visiting historic sites, investigating natural wonders, experiencing local customs and cuisine or trying out activities for the more adventure-minded, you’re provided with a well-rounded picture of the region’s resources.

At the ASTA Small Business Network formerly(NACTA) 2017 Conference in Anchorage, Alaska, FAM attendees experienced fjords and glaciers, in addition to meeting with representatives from the state parks, Alaska Railroad, and receiving a greeting from Alaska Congressman Don Young.

Along with numerous tours, general educational sessions hit on topics pertinent to the industry—such as mastering the art of social media—and offer insight from industry leaders and from local officials who know the area’s ins and outs. Trade shows bring a variety of local suppliers, who also provide an insider’s view.

“The local people ...” McGahee said, “They love their land and they’re going to show it to you like you’ve never seen before. You’ll get to meet with them, make friends and really get to know the area.” To facilitate this process, engagement sessions such as small round-table discussions are often hosted by local tour operators, allowing FAM attendees to ask questions and get more direct information.

Why choose a  ASTA FAM over those offered by others? It’s all about reputability. Those invited to participate in ASTA FAMs are carefully vetted as association members. “FAMs hosted by a particular company tout their product,” McGahee said. “On a SBN or ASTA FAM, you’re not going there for one tour operator, but the whole experience.

“You’re going to meet multiple tour operators and have different experiences. It provides a deeper knowledge of the area.”

FAMs on the Horizon

Athens, Greece | April 14 – 17
Features tours of Athens, Crete, Santorini and Mykonos; educational sessions; round-table meetings with suppliers; visits to wine-making regions and Greece's ancient sites; and the opportunity for a post-FAM cruise on a small ship.

Washington, D.C. | Late August
The back-to-back ASTA/SBN formerly NACTA conference will feature pre- and post-FAMS, including a seven-day Carnival cruise out of Baltimore, Maryland.

Juneau, Alaska | September
Get to know Juneau with wildlife tours on sea or glacier, and experience small expedition cruise boats that allow visitors to get a closer look at

the area’s natural wonders via inflatable runabouts launched from the cruise vessel!

Learn more at https://nacta.com/events/seminars-at-sea-fam-trips or visit the SBN Facebook page.

Written by Jennifer Reynolds. Photo courtesy of Lorene Romero.