Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Janet Thomas


Since September 11, 2001, Group Travel Directors (GTD) has noted an increase in self-reported anxiety among adult travelers preparing to depart to the Holy Land. This observation has been made by long-term employees both objectively and subjectively by comparing evaluation scores, cancellation percentages, tracking numbers of phone calls from anxious travelers and through staff accounts of conversations with travelers. GTD staff reports that clients often are inclined to make rash decisions based on perfunctory judgments influenced by media coverage.

GTD has collected evaluations from adult travelers for more than twenty years in an effort to better understand traveler perceptions of tours and to amass accolades or acrimonious feedback. To date, no major institutional changes have resulted from a collective study of the years of feedback that exist in GTD’s files. The purpose of this project is to compile and examine this feedback from Holy Land travelers between the years 2010 and 2013, to recommended changes and to make improvements to GTD’s pre-departure materials and procedures based on consistent themes within traveler evaluations.

The information extracted from these evaluations concludes there are improvements that must be made to GTD’s Pre-Departure process to empower and inform adult travelers to recognize and combat culture shock, to be more knowledgeable about cultural and religious differences in the region, and to be more interested in driving his or her own learning prior to a tour’s departure. Evaluations also reveal that group leader materials should be improved, updated and available electronically. Procedures to improve communication timing, quality and availability are also examined and implemented.


Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching | Education | International and Comparative Education | International and Intercultural Communication | Other International and Area Studies


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