Our History


CTI-40 years!

Land Family 1970 (left to right) Jack Jr., Karen, Jeanette, Jack



In 1970, Jack Land founded Highland Tours in Asheville, NC. The first office was in the historic Grove Park Inn, offering guide services such as Biltmore Estate tours to incoming groups and convention attendees. Because GPI operated only seasonally at the time, Jack relocated to the Great Smokies Hilton when it opened in 1972. Soon after, he incorporated as Carolina Tours, Inc., and continued offering receptive services throughout the seventies, including Asheville’s first Gray Line Tours.

During this time, the company also began promoting outbound tours to various destinations. Countless busloads of families were taken to the Worlds Fair in Knoxville, TN. Years of taking 5 to 7 buses full of 8th graders to Washington, DC for a week, began during this time. And yes, your math is right; there were some trips with almost three hundred 8th graders! Many Senior Citizens were awed by sights as far away as Nova Scotia in one direction, and the Grand Canyon in the other.

Jack’s youngest child, Karen, grew up in the business, beginning her career while still in high school. By 1991, Jack was ready to retire, so Karen, along with her husband, Tim Walker, made the decision to purchase the company. Tim began his career as a ski instructor at Wolf Laurel Resort in the early ‘70s. He moved on to other ski and golf resorts, but eventually returned to "The Wolf" as Ski School Director. Soon after, group sales were added to his duties. When Karen and Tim took over CTI, it only made sense to add ski trips to the company’s repertoire. They continue to own and operate the company, with Tim as President and Karen as Vice President.

Other mountain adventure experiences were added in the ‘90s, including whitewater rafting, ropes courses, and horseback riding. But not only did the variety of trips grow throughout the ‘90’s, the states from which our groups originated, grew as well. Before 1991, CTI staff focused entirely on North Carolina. By 1996, we were helping clients from Louisiana to Maryland. It was during this time it became clear "Carolina" was getting in the way mentally for group leaders north of us. As a result, in 1997 we filed the necessary papers to begin functioning as CTI Group Adventures. While Carolina Tours, Inc is still our official corporate name, we’ve functioned as CTI Group Adventures for more than 15 years.

By 2000, responding to requests from many of our group leaders, we began to combine some of our winter retreats with concerts and conferences. Our first concert on January 6, 2001 brought Audio Adrenaline to Winterplace, WV. Since that night, we’ve produced concerts with contemporary Christian artists such as Caedman’s Call, Switchfoot, Casting Crowns, Pillar, Big Daddy Weave, Barlow Girls, NeedToBreathe, Tenth Avenue North, and many others. At our conferences, Praise and Worship music has been led by musicians such as Revive and Shane & Shane, with soul engaging speakers such as Duffy Robbins and David Nasser. ROCK THE SLOPES returns for the winter of 2012/13 will a full slate of concerts, conferences, and even a “Battle of the Praise Bands!”

Several years ago, we began to feel led to offer assistance in the mission field. However, there seemed to be a plethora of organizations already performing a fine job in home repairs for the needy, building churches and schools in 3rd world countries, and providing emergency disaster relief. We struggled to discover our place. In the fall of 2011, things began to come together. We learned that although there were several organizations involved in feeding the hungry, there was far more need. In short order we discovered 3 local farms donating the food they grew to Manna Food Bank, for distribution to the hungry. All they needed were people to help prepare the fields, remove rocks, plant seeds, hoe weeds, and harvest crops! That was followed by news of a national study listing Western North Carolina as third worst in the country for food hardship. The collective information that bombarded us, combined with the speed at which we easily partnered with the farms, the vast army of laborers available in the churches and schools we assist, and the knowledge that we had the skills and tools to bring it all together, made the choice easy. So in 2012, we launched FEED MY PEOPLE. Because farming is HARD work, most groups follow a daily plan that includes working on one of the farms for a half day, with the other half dedicated to whitewater rafting, zip lining, caving, etc. So in one trip, you can help feed hungry stomachs, hungry souls, and adrenaline junkies.

Based on the needs we see and work to fulfill, we believe much of CTI’s history is yet to be written…



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“This summer mission trip to North Carolina was exactly the right balance of work and play for our high school youth.  It allowed our group a special opportunity to bond through helping others, fellowship together and quiet devotion and reflection time.  I think our group will be interested in joining with CTI to do another trip like this next summer."

Thanks ,

Paula Littleton

Prince of Peace Lutheran

 
Carolina Tours, Inc. DBA CTI Group Adventures is registered with the State of Florida as a Seller of Travel. Registration # ST-31876
CTI Group Adventures is licensed by the State of North Carolina as a Tour Operator License # B-326-B .

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