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The Mature Traveler

Tour Expo With a Custom Design

June 08, 1986|BILL HUGHES | Hughes is a 25-year veteran travel writer living in Sherman Oaks.

Mature and senior groups heading for Expo 86 in Vancouver should be aware of the custom-designed on-site tours of the 173-acre fair, organized to help them budget their time and resources.

The tours, offered by International Event Corp., were started to aid Canadian senior groups in the area but expanded to accommodate tour groups from the United States as well.

"The fair is a big, big place," says Ken Munro, president of the company, "and seniors, especially, find a difficult time in seeing it all. Our tours, which come in six-hour lengths, are designed for each group, paced to their requirements.

"So far, (there is) no clear pattern of what day of the week is best to see Expo 86. It can vary. And our guides keep in touch with the day's attendance and know all the day's activities.

"They are very bright and well-trained and know the best times to go where and when . . . and more important, where and when not to go places to get stuck in crowds."

Aimed at Group of 40

The senior tours are normally aimed at a typical motor coach tour group of 40 people or so; the cost for a six-hour tour is $10 per person, from the group's hotel to and through the grounds.

"There is no hard rule on a group's size," says Munro. "While we prefer a full busload, we can work with a group of 20 or so, joining them with another smaller group.

"And while we can put things together in two days," he adds, "we prefer a week. It helps to better meet each group's exact requirements.

"The term senior usually means 65 years of age. Again, there is no hard rule on this. Some senior groups want a faster-paced tour, others want a more leisurely one.

"We started with one six-hour tour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and have added an 'Expo By Night' from 5 to 11 p.m. that has proved popular as well. A number of tour groups have elected to do both, and we arrange a completely different itinerary for each segment, paced to the group's general age and mobility," Munro says.

'Three Days About Right'

"It's almost impossible to see Expo 86 in one day. Three days here is about right. That gives the tour some sightseeing in Vancouver as well as some free time to relax.

"And it works well with the three-day senior pass of $22.50 for those 65 or older. The same three-day pass for others is $45. And a one-day admission with no senior discount is $20.

"Considering that there are more than 54 countries represented on the site as well as 34 corporate exhibits and many other attractions and entertainment, three days is just about right," Munro adds.

International Event Corp. can also arrange for group meals at many of the fair's restaurants and snack bars and will work with a tour director on group rates, mealtimes, leisure time, etc. A week's notice is preferred.

And while IEC does not arrange accommodations for tour groups in Vancouver, it will put tour groups in contact with organizations that do arrange them.

Where to Learn More

For more information: International Event Corp., Suite 853 United Kingdom Bldg., 409 Granville St., Vancouver, B.C. V6C 1T2, Canada. Or phone (604) 681-0122. Phone lines are open 24 hours; if no one is on duty, leave a recorded message and a staffer will contact your group within 24 hours. (Note: Rates cited are in Canadian dollars.)

Also in Vancouver and just for Expo 86, South Granville Park Lodge, a modern retirement apartment complex, is renting hotel-style accommodations for seniors visiting the fair.

Rates are $128 a night double, $98 single (Canadian funds). This includes free shuttle to and from Expo, complimentary breakfast.

South Granville Park Lodge is a fully licensed personal care facility with a nursing staff on call 24 hours a day, wheelchair accessible throughout, air-conditioned, and rooms with a push-button intercom system for immediate assistance.

Facilities include a large dining room, therapeutic whirlpool baths and indoor and outdoor lounges.

For more information: South Granville Park Lodge, 1645 W. 14th Ave., Vancouver, B.C. V6J 2J4, Canada. Or phone (604) 732-8633.

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