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citccornerSteve Gillick, ctmIt makes a great story, and that is what the Global Ex­plorers Club is all about. I was attending the Naa­dam Festival in Mongolia and could not see the final stretch of the famous horse race where kids as young as 5 years old are galloping full speed to take home the glory of winning this annual event. I leaned over to my tour guide and, pointing to the police van, asked him, if he would ask the police if I could stand on the running board of the van -which was about 3 feel off the ground-to see the race. A look of horror crossed the guide's face at the prospect of having to speak to the police and even ask them a favour. He said that it was not possible and turned away. I stood on my tippy-toes to see the race but being well under six feet tall, all I could see was dust, and all I could hear the growing excitement of the crowd. I walked over to the police van, caught the attention of the four policemen crammed into the front seat, and asked, using sign language, if I could stand on the running board to take photos. They waved me up right away. My guide looked around for me and then spotted me on the Van, sign-chatting with the smiling police. He could not believe what he saw. I believed it. I had a great time.and I snapped about 30 photos of the horse race. This is just one of the many personal anecdotes that are revealed during the informal and informational meetings at CITC's Global Explorers Club.I founded the club based on my own love of travel, and my love for talking to people who love to talk about travel! The idea came from the Travelers Century Club in the U.S. where admission is based on your ability to prove that you've visited 100 countries. I thought that perhaps we could have a more user-friendly gather­ing in Canada, so the membership criteria were ad­justed: Members have to have visited 25 countries. OR.they have to WANT to visit 25 countries. That just about covers everyone that I know in the travel industry! The motto of the Club is based on a Chinese expression that complements CITC's educational man­date perfectly: Read 10,000 books. Travel 10,000 milesIn other words, do your research, learn as much as you can about the country, and then travel! Typically, 35-50 industry members (and even some consumers) attend the meetings, held 3-4 times per year. When people register, they write down how many countries they have visited on their name tag, and this may vary from 2 to 130. Club members are very non-judgmental. It's the travel that counts! More than one person has received business opportunities just by chatting about a recent trip. A Trivia Quiz on the featured destination follows, just to see how much people actually know about the place, and prizes are awarded. Then the presentation begins. Global Explorers Club talks are not the typical tourist board type. Presenters are encouraged to talk about their own experience on the trip and to relate their own anecdotes about what happened, or what hotel was great or what meal was not so great. And the pho­tos used in the presentations showcase the people, culture, history and traditions of the country.CITC has had many sponsored meetings over the years, as suppliers and tourist boards appreciate the value of having their country featured in such a unique fashion. There are so many ways for travel professionals to learn about the globe-which is, afterall, the product that they sell. The Global Explorers Club was created in the spirit of learning together, sharing travel experi­ences and learning how to market destinations to con­sumers. The next time you hear about a meeting (you may want to sponsor a meeting in your area), then come out, get those endorphins revved up and share in the joys of travel!Steve Gillick, CTMPresident & Chief Operating OfficerCanadian Institute of Travel CounsellorsGlobal Explorers Club spreads the joys of travelwww.citc.ca/listsTravel Professionals are invited to join Green Travel Professionals at www.citc.ca/gogreen

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