- Spring 2022 Update -
A Heartfelt Message from HOT Founder: Terry Giansanti
Terry Giansanti, the CEO and founder of Hands On Travel, shares his thoughts and expresses his heartfelt
gratitude for having such a wonderful core team, new and repeating loyal customers, continued partnerships
with deaf schools and hearing universities, and everyone else who’s supported us within these last few years.
As Hands On Travel approaches our twentieth anniversary later this year, our team remains dedicated to
maintaining our company’s mission and core principles that’s remained the same since our inception in 2002.
We look forward to providing tours for the rest of this year, 2023 and for many more years to come.
Hello, I’m Terry Giansanti. Where am I? I’m in Venice, Italia. Wow, I have goosebumps right now. Why? It’s been two and a half years since our company stopped all tours due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Whew, it’s been a difficult time for us as well as for others within the tourism business. Wow, it’s quite challenging. Why? Everything completely stopped, but do I see it as a negative? No. Are there positive aspects? Yes, there are. In the last two and a half years, our company internally has actively improved a lot team wise, came up with more ideas, and obtained more projects with more new things yet to come that we look forward to doing.
HOT – Hands On Travel – was first established in 2002 and in a blink of an eye, it’s already 2022. Wow, has it already been twenty years that’s passed? We look back and we’re really grateful for all that has happened within our company’s history including the growth, learning opportunities, support we’ve received from others, and the ability to sustain our operations.
We believe in making the world accessible to deaf people through direct communication. That’s what our company’s founding message and first intention was to provide communication accessibility to all that’s direct, transparent, clear, and understandable to all. Our intentions and founding principles have remained the same from day one until today and we commit to continuing that.
We value direct communication, but our company also has two other principles that we cherish and follow for travel purposes. What’s our second principle? Keeping our tour groups small. We dislike the idea of having large deaf tour groups travelling together because of communication difficulties. If a person is deaf themselves, and a guide wants to lecture to a group of fifty deaf people watching them, can everyone see the guide signing? It’s impossible. Smaller groups mean that more personalized attention can be given to full communication access that’s clear as to what’s going on. Also, having smaller groups allow us to stay at smaller and cooler hotels, and adventure out to smaller restaurants. It’s like becoming a local instead of a tourist. That second philosophy also applies to our third one which is to provide unique experiences. That means we don’t want to visit common tourist attractions, you know where everyone must go visit and see. That’s fine and alright, but not only that, when you really travel, you’ll often find hidden surprises when you take the road less travelled.
We’re finally running tours again! In February 2022, Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind joined us for a tour in Washington, D.C. We also recently finished with three school tours! We had the Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind again and they went to Germany, Austria, and Czechia (Czech Republic). Our second tour was with California School for the Deaf – Fremont and they went to Portugal. The Learning Center for the Deaf and Rochester School for the Deaf joined us for a combined tour of France and England! Everyone enjoyed exploring new cultures, foods, cities, and landmarks in various countries before flying back home.
We empower deaf high school students to become global citizens. We teach them how to travel, visit new countries, how to communicate in different languages, understand different cultures and ways of life, that allow them to fit into that country’s culture. In the future, their traveling experiences will be seamless. That’s what we accomplished this past month with our deaf school tours.
Our team also has a special new project that we look forward to. What is it? We continue to expand our deaf school tours to include domestic (local) tours. That’s something we’re really looking forward to because not every deaf school wants or can afford to travel internationally. It might be too far away, take too long. or be prohibitively too expensive for some schools. Our domestic tours provide another good alternate option for students to travel to the east coast of the United States, and visit cities like Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, PA, New York City, and Boston, Massachusetts. All four cities provide students the opportunity to learn more about American History, American Deaf Culture, the American way of life, how the United States Government operates, and more in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the U.S. So, we look forward to expanding our domestic tour operations soon.
Now, we’re starting to shift our focus to adult tours that we’ll be operating soon worldwide this year. We haven’t fully recovered yet from the Covid-19 pandemic. About half of our clientele recovered while the other half of the people are still weary about the pandemic. It’s ok – it’s normal. It takes time to get back to a normal rhythm. We look forward to maintaining our operations and providing tours in 2022 and 2023. 2023 will be an extremely busy and huge year for our company having a lot more tours than we’ve ever operated in our company’s history going back 20 years. We truly look forward to the next few years. What we’ve done at Hands On Travel since the beginning will continue to remain the same, and going forward, we’ll do it even better!
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From the bottom of our hearts, the entire team at Hands On Travel, wants to thank you for your constant support through these difficult times. Also, I want to especially thank our entire team who have continued to work extremely hard these past few years. I’m deeply grateful, so thank you so much. I also have to thank deaf schools who continue to put their faith and support in us to do what’s best for their students and staff on tours. We also thank all of the adults who continue to sign up for our tours, continue to support us and give us positive energy that without you, we wouldn’t be here today. We thank you again, and hope to see you again soon on a tour!
Terry Giansanti, Founder and Owner of Hands On Travel, stands outside on a brick paved path in middle of a Venetian city centre in Venice, Italia. Behind him are various buildings with people wandering about. Terry is a light skinned man wearing a dark green polo short-sleeve t-shirt with blue jeans.
The beginning of the video has a cover with a photo of a map and laptop underneath a blue background. Text states: Spring 2022, a Heartfelt Message from Hands On Travel’s Founder: Terry Giansanti. On the top left hand corner is Hands On Travel’s logo in white.