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Tauck is an operator of guided tours and cruises; in 1935 it became the first tour operator to be awarded a federal Tour Broker’s License by the U.S. government. The company, which celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2015, is owned and operated by the Tauck family and is based in Wilton, CT. Tauck offers more than 100 guided land journeys, small-ship ocean cruises, European river cruises, safaris and family travel experiences in more than 70 countries, and it has received numerous accolades.
Tauck was founded in 1925 by Arthur Tauck, Sr., then a young traveling salesman, when he brought six paying guests along on one of his sales trips through New England and southeastern Canada. The all-inclusive, six-day trip covered 1,100 miles and cost each guest $69. The group traveled in the mornings and guests relaxed in the afternoons while Tauck made sales calls to local clients.
At first Tauck planned no additional tours, but when word-of-mouth recommendations from his six passengers resulted in numerous inquiries about additional trips, he reconsidered. Tauck soon launched Tauck Tours and began promoting his guided journeys in earnest.
In 1958 Arthur Tauck, Sr. was succeeded by his son, Arthur Tauck, Jr., who expanded the company by adding additional domestic and later international destinations to its portfolio. The younger Tauck is widely regarded as a travel industry innovator, and he is credited with a number of “firsts” including combining motorcoach tours with air travel in the 1950s, offering the first international charter air tour packages in Nova Scotia, bringing many of the first East Coast travelers to the U.S. National Parks of the American West, and introducing “Heli-Hiking” in the Canadian Rockies.
Today Tauck offers over 140 different all-inclusive, guided journeys in more than 70 countries worldwide. Travel categories offered by Tauck include land journeys, European river cruises, small ship ocean cruises, Tauck Bridges family travel adventures, special Tauck events, and Tauck Culturious trips. Launched in 2009 to serve boomer-aged travelers, the Culturious journeys provide an active and immersive exploration of smaller geographic regions.
The Tauck company is still a family-owned and operated enterprise. Arthur Tauck, Jr. serves as Chairman. Four of Arthur Tauck's five children have either worked for or are currently involved in the business, and his son-in-law Dan Mahar is Tauck’s current CEO and a Board Director.
Tauck is a member of both the United States Tour Operators Association, and the National Tour Association, which was founded by Arthur Tauck, Jr. in 1954 as the United States Tour Brokers Association.
Ken Burns Partnership
In September 2010, Tauck announced a partnership with the documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and his longtime collaborator Dayton Duncan. Working with Burns and Duncan, Tauck has created land journeys and special events that explore the topics covered in Burns’ films, including (among others) the Civil War, America’s national parks, jazz and baseball.
The partnership has three components:
- Tours designed by Tauck, Burns and Duncan, including itineraries exploring New England, New York's Hudson Valley, Yosemite National Park, Yellowstone National Park in wintertime, and the parks of the U.S. Southwest.
- A revolving selection of themed events which each feature a personal appearance and keynote address by Burns. Current and past events include an exploration of the history of New York City, an in-depth immersion into the cultural roots of Chicago, a jazz-themed event in New Orleans, and a five-day baseball event in Cooperstown, NY.
- A series of short films produced by Burns and Duncan that provide their perspectives on people and places featured in their documentaries. These original vignettes are shown to Tauck guests during the course of their travels, while they are visiting the areas being discussed by the filmmakers in the vignettes.
BBC Earth Partnership
Tauck has also entered into a partnership with BBC Earth, the award-winning filmmakers behind acclaimed nature documentaries including Life, The Blue Planet, Frozen Planet and Planet Earth. Through the Earth Journeys partnership with BBC Earth, Tauck is enhancing its journeys that explore the natural world by adding a series of original films that Tauck guests will view on location. Produced by BBC Earth exclusively for Tauck, these brief documentaries utilize BBC Earth’s resources, including its vast archive of nature film footage, to highlight the animal life and places that Tauck guests are experiencing during their travels.
Selected journeys also employ technologies used by BBC Earth filmmakers to help Tauck guests experience the destinations they’re visiting in new and different ways. Specific technologies may include long-range directional microphones, infrared night-vision and motion-activated cameras, underwater cameras, and small fiber-optic endoscopic cameras.
In 2015, Tauck was named the #1 mid-sized company to work for in southwestern Connecticut in the Top Workplaces Awards by Hearst Media. That same year, Tauck was named the Best Tour Operator, U.S. & Canada by Travel Weekly magazine, and the Best Destination & Experience Escorted Tour Partner by the travel agency group Virtuoso. Tauck’s river cruises were also honored with a Travel Weekly magazine Magellan Gold Award in 2015.
In 2014, 2013 and 2011 Tauck was voted the “World’s Best River Cruise Line” by the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine. (The company was also named the “World’s Best Tour Operator & Safari Outfitter” three times by the readers of the magazine). Also in 2013, Tauck was named one of the "Best Places To Work in Connecticut" by the Hartford Business Journal, the number-one tour operator by travel agency groups Virtuoso, Ensemble and Nexion, and the world-leader in culinary tours by Saveur magazine.
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