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Tour operator Zephyr Adventures has announced it is reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic by creating an entirely new tour brand, Travel Montana. The company will begin operating in 2021 with 11 different active Montana tours on its schedule, with an expectation that most travelers will be in private groups of as small as four people.

“Zephyr Adventures is a small tour company with 24 years of experience running tours around the world,” explained owner Allan Wright in a press release statement. “Our international tours stopped entirely with the pandemic and resulting travel restrictions.”

With foreign trips ruled out, Zephyr Adventures pivoted to offering more domestic trips. But even that was difficult, with prime travel destinations such as Vermont off limits to most U.S. travelers without a quarantine period. “The tours we did run were primarily in Montana and we saw an increasing demand for tours in our home state,” related Wright.

Montana, with its wide-open spaces and low population density, appealed to travelers. Like many areas, Montana is facing renewed challenges with COVID-19 at the moment but Wright believes there will be strong demand for travel to the state next year.

“Our tours tend to be inherently safer, due to our activities taking place outside and in small groups,” Wright said about Travel Montana’s hiking, biking, snowshoeing, and multisport tours. “Offering tours only in Montana made sense not just during the pandemic but, we believe, even after it is over.”

Indeed, the company touts Montana as “one of the world’s top vacation destinations” due to its mountains, lakes, rivers, national parks, small towns, and those wide-open spaces. “We believe there will be a high demand in 2021 for domestic travel and Montana will be at the top of many travelers’ lists. We are betting on it by spending the time and money to create this new tour brand, Travel Montana,” elaborated Wright.

Itineraries include the 6-day Beartooth Mountains Hiking Vacation (August), which includes daily hikes along different trail seeking out pristine alpine lakes, gorgeous plateaus, and stunning vistas. Another option is the 5-day Grand Teton & Jackson Multisport Vacation, featuring biking, hiking and rafting amidst stunning mountain scenery.

Travel Montana—which pays 10 percent commission and, as, Wright notes, can take over the details once a travel agent makes a referral, “for those agents who prefer that”—will operate both private tours and public group tours and has 11 different active tours on offer. Tours will only operate if it is allowed by the state of Montana and safe to do so.

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