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OUT Adventures Tours - Small GLBT Group Tours to all Seven Continents

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The gay tour operator, OUT Adventures, a GLBT-owned company based in Toronto, is a well-respected outfitter specializing in intimate (usually up to 14 guests) journeys throughout the world, from Antarctica to Zambia. The tours focus on a variety of styles: urban adventures, style, GLBT family trips, comfort, active, and more. Both gay/lesbian and women-only trips are offered.

I recently talked with OUT Adventures co-founder Robert Sharp about his company and the services they provide. Here's a look at what Out Adventures tours are all about:

1. First, a few basics about the company:

A: How long are the trips you offer, typically? 7-14 days average.

B: How many travelers in a group? Maximum 12 passengers, 14 for LGBT Family tours.

C: Do you also offer customized trips for individuals/couples planning their own vacations? Yes.

D: What is the pricing for the different kinds of trips you offer? (If you offer multi-day tours, please mention any applicable pricing related to airfare/transportation, meals, accommodations, etc.) Our prices range from $1299 USD for our Active Nepal trip to $4699 for our Comfort South Africa trip. Our average trip price is approximately $2300. Our trips do not include international airfare or travel insurance but do include a group leader, accommodation, ground transport, some meals and some activities.

E: What's your phone number and Web address? Toll Free in Canada and the United States 1-866-360-1152 or International +1-416-531-8795. Website is OUT-Adventures.com.

2. Please state your name and title:

Robert Sharp, Co-Founder, OUT Adventures.

3. Describe the types of tours or trips you offer - the destinations you serve, and the themes or interests you cover?

OUT Adventures offers gay men, lesbians, their friends and family a comfortable yet culturally engaging way to experience new and exciting cultures around the globe. We stay at locally owned hotels, eat at locally owned restaurants and - most importantly - interact with local people all in an effort to provide the most authentic travel experience possible. Our trips aren’t necessarily about having an uber-gay vacation, but about sharing a travel experience with like-minded people.

We also don’t break the bank, offering very affordable tour options ranging from Active vacations to a trip style we call Comfort (generally 3 star) to In Style for those that enjoy culture but also enjoy a 5 star hotel experience. We also have women-only, family, short break, and urban adventures offering something for everyone amidst our nearly 50 scheduled 2010 departures.

4. What's the typical profile of your clientele, in terms of age, background, interests or other demographics you'd care to mention? If you cater primarily to GLBT travelers, please say so.

We cater primarily to GLBT travelers, but that’s where the typical profile ends. Our trips vary in age, ethnicity, and country of origin with most trips composing of Americans, Canadians, Brits, and Aussies. We are expanding our marketing efforts to draw an even wider variety of travelers from around the globe.

5. Is there anything about your company or the services you offer (or destinations you cover) that are of particular interest to GLBT travelers?

We are an eco-friendly company with all of our 2010 tours being carbon-offset (built into the price of the trip), and we focus on value as well. This means we cater to the average every day traveler, not just the luxury traveler that many companies focus on when courting the LGBT market.

6. What are the qualifications or background of the guides who lead your tours? And what's the typical ratio of staff to client on a given tour?

For the most part we try our best to use local leaders, as we believe the best way to have an authentic experience is to be led by a local. The qualifications of these leaders depends on the country in which we are operating. For example in Thailand all of our leaders must be educated by the government. For the most part, we contract our leaders through Intrepid Travel, one of the world’s top adventure tour operators. In most cases our leaders are gay or lesbian while in some cases we have fantastic straight guides whom our groups adore.

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