Country Travel Discoveries: Travel industry veteran launches global tour company in Elm Grove
Contact: Steve Uelner
As Director of World Wide Country Tours in Greendale, Steve Uelner spent 25 years welcoming more than 125,000 travelers to 3,700 off-the-beaten-path vacations.
So when Uelner recently had to tell his long-time customers that their favorite travel company was being shut down by its parent firm, the response was strong.
“It was tough enough to lose my job,” Uelner says, “but what made it more difficult was to hear the disappointment in the voices of so many loyal customers. These people had taken five, 10, even 20 tours with us. They’d become friends and wanted to continue traveling with us. It hurt to let them down.”
Convinced there is still business opportunity in providing country-based tours to diverse destinations, Uelner founded Country Travel DISCOVERIES, LLC. From its headquarters in Elm Grove, CTD offers 2 dozen personalized tours, including trips to Alaska and the Yukon, Colorado's Vintage Railways, and Europe’s Old-World Christmas markets.
Many of these destinations were popular at Uelner’s former employer, World Wide Country Tours. Founded by magazine publisher Roy Reiman in 1987, WWCT offered the readers of Reiman’s rural lifestyle magazines a chance to deeply experience the country through visits to family farms and ranches. There, welcoming owners showed visitors first-hand how they and their families live and work on the land.
Reiman and Uelner learned of these host families through the pages of Reiman’s magazines including Country, Birds & Blooms and Taste of Home. Reiman, and later Uelner, personally drove the back roads of North America to meet these families ahead of time, form friendships with them, and set up unique regional tour itineraries.
Reiman sold his publishing company in 1998. Its current owner, The Reader’s Digest Association, decided to exit the travel business earlier this year.
Uelner hired several co-workers to help administer his new company, offering 2 dozen tours to destinations across North America and Europe. “We’ve built these tours based on what past travelers told us,” Uelner says. “Their favorite destinations include Autumn in New England...Alaska and the Yukon...West Virginia’s Mountain Railroads...Covered Bridges and Indiana Treasures...Lake Superior Shores and the North Woods.”
New tours are now being planned by a staff of five. Uelner sees big potential ahead as Baby Boomers continue to retire and travel. He plans to add to his staff as CTD grows.
“I hired Steve to run our travel division 25 years ago, “Reiman says, “so I know Steve’s customers can trust him in all he does. It’s exciting to see Country Travel DISCOVERIES take wing.”
For more Information about Country Travel DISCOVERIES, LLC, visit http://www.countrytraveldiscoveries.com or call 855 744-8747.