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Board and Staff Gather at New NTA HQ | A New Approach to Employee Development

May 3, 2011

Volume 31, Issue 18 

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sales ad mayTODAY’S ARTICLES
Board and Staff Gather at New NTA HQ
A New Approach to Employee Development
Lend Support to Tornado Victims
Give-back Project Brings Hundreds of Travel Professionals to Mystic Seaport
NTA Tour Operators Can Take Travelers to Cuba
Lifted Restrictions Welcomed by Egypt-Jordan Travel Delegation
3 Reasons to Love (and Participate in) Twitter Chats
Reach 20,000 Group Leaders
Industry News: Focus on Flying

Board and Staff Gather at New NTA HQ  

Monday, the day your NTA staff opened for business in our new headquarters, was also the first day of the board of directors’ second meeting of the year. During a walk-through of the new space, board members joined with staff members for a team photo:

2011 BOD and staff photo

Front row (L-R): Ashley Crawford, Allison Johnson, Britanny Metcalf, Kate McLean, Melisa-Beth Rooke, Kami Risk

Seated (L-R): (Board of Directors) Steve Richer, CTP; Greg Takehara; Nick Calderazzo; Jorge Cazenave; Michele Michalewicz, CTP; Jennifer Sutcliffe; Lisa Simon, CTP; Paul Nakamoto; Cathy Greteman; Mahen Sanghrajka; Jim Reddekopp Jr.; Cathleen Johnson; Carolyn Boss; Sherri Guiborat; Greg Eckhart

Standing (L-R): Paula Stephenson, Penny Whitman, Pat Henderson, Katey Pease, Dana Deptola, Susan McDaniel, Cheryl Adams, Bob Rouse, Lori Rempi, Lee Carter, Cathy Boyd, Doug Rentz, Bob Livesay, Ken Goode, Lauren-Ashley Pope, Todd Probus, Celeste Moore, Haybina Hao, Catherine Prather, Kevin Wright, Karla DiNardo

Tuesday readers will soon get a glimpse of our new HQ in an upcoming issue. For now, make note of our new contact info:

101 Prosperous Place, Suite 350
Lexington, KY 40509

Main number: +1.859.264.6540 or 800.682.8886 (U.S. & Canada)
Staff direct lines: See our online directory.

For reflections on the move from Board Chair Cathy Greteman, see her column in the May Courier.

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A New Approach to Employee Development 

Hey, tour operator owners, do you want to reduce your employee turnover and increase your employees’

  • job satisfaction,
  • motivation,
  • efficiency,
  • ability to innovate
  • and capacity to adopt new technologies and methods?

Then come to Contact (Aug. 1–3 in Newport, Rhode Island). Studies show that investing just a little in employee training pays you back in the benefits cited above. At Contact, your employees’ days will be chock full of educational opportunities in one of two tracks: Sales & Marketing or Operations. (We’re saving the CEO/Owners track for you!)

Join us for Contact and bring staff members for each of the education areas and use the resort atmosphere for bonding, in-depth employee training and valuable networking opportunities. You can use the sightseeing tour as even more team-building time.

Just for the C-suite (CEO-level) attendees: Industry leaders Robin Tauck, from Tauck Inc. and Robin Tauck & Partners, and Dan Sullivan Jr. from Collette Vacations will also be presenting and sharing their expertise.

There’ll be a lot of learning at Contact, but plenty of fun and sightseeing, too. For a look at sightseeing tours and the culinary pre-Fam tour, see this spread in the May Courier.

Contact—the next generation of NTA’s Spring Meet—is your opportunity to connect and do business with your operator colleagues in an intimate setting. Join us in beautiful Rhode Island, August 1–3.


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Lend Support to Tornado Victims  

Last week a series of devastating tornadoes slammed the southern United States, cutting a path through Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and other states, killing more than 300 people. Alabama was the hardest hit, and our friends at the Southeast Tourism Society have let us know about several avenues for supporting relief efforts:
The American Red Cross

In addition, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has established the Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund to help people who have exhausted all other avenues of disaster relief, such as FEMA, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and other programs.

For information about travel in Alabama, consult the Alabama Tourism Department Web site.

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Give-back Project Brings Hundreds of Travel Professionals to Mystic Seaport

Tourism Cares LogoTourism Cares has organized more than 350 travel professionals from across North America to join forces in Mystic, Connecticut, on Friday, May 6. These volunteers will make a lasting, positive difference at Mystic Seaport: The Museum of America and the Sea. This national treasure is an active living history museum with 17 exhibits portraying coastal life in New England in the 19th century.

"We are very honored that Tourism Cares chose Mystic Seaport for their 2011 volunteer event," said Stephen C. White, president of Mystic Seaport. "The difficult economy we’ve all faced in the last several years made it challenging for us to keep up our buildings and grounds. The work the Tourism Cares volunteers will do in one day will help us make up for years of deferred maintenance. But more important, they are helping an entire region. As more people have a great experience at Mystic Seaport, more people will be drawn to Southeastern Connecticut."

From small-business owners and front-line employees to corporate executives and industry leaders, these dedicated volunteers will work side-by-side to fulfill a common goal: to preserve the travel experience for future generations. 

"Every year, hundreds of travel professionals take time out of their busy schedules to give back to the sites they love," said Bruce Beckham, executive director and CEO of Tourism Cares. "It’s hard work for everyone involved, but it’s a very rewarding experience. This event is a great opportunity to make a lasting impact on of our nation’s landmarks, reconnect with old friends while making new ones, and visit a great destination! It’s really a ‘can’t miss’ event."

Not able to make it this year?  Be sure to follow Tourism Cares on Facebook and Twitter for updated information and pictures during the event:
Facebook/TourismCares or Mystic Seaport
Twitter/@TourismCares or @MysticSeaport  

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NTA Tour Operators Can Take Travelers to Cuba 

In January, President Obama issued an executive order allowing religious, cultural and academic groups to travel to Cuba under a general license. Groups meeting the established criteria donot have to apply to the Office of Foreign Assets Control to be able to travel to Cuba.

But a separate category of permissible travel, "people-to-people travel," was not defined in the original order. In April, OFAC issued a description of people-to-people travel, as well as other definitions for the implementation of travel to Cuba. It’s available here.

In order for an NTA tour operator to participate in travel to Cuba with any of the qualified travel groups, the operator must apply and be qualified as a "Travel Service Provider" by OFAC.  A description of the guidelines to achieve this status is provided by OFAC. 

An excellent discussion of the entire travel to Cuba issue is offered by John McAuliff, executive director of the Fund for Reconciliation and Development and a past speaker at NTA on this issue. 

Finally, a number of tour operators already qualify as TSPs, and you can find them on this list. If you are an operator in need of additional assistance in qualifying, please contact Steve Richer, NTA’s public affairs advocate.

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Lifted Restrictions Welcomed by Egypt-Jordan Travel Delegation 

Last Thursday, NTA’s chairman, Cathy Greteman, and president, Lisa Simon, CTP, and other U.S. travel industry leaders departed Cairo after promoting the resumption of tourism to Egypt and Jordan. The next day the U.S. State Department lifted its Travel Warning for Egypt and replaced it with an alert. Citing "continuing improvements" throughout Egypt, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo officially resumed normal operations.

The delegation, traveling under the banner of "Restoring the Journey: Support Travel to Egypt and Jordan," included other association leaders, tour operators and travel journalists. (Previous stories in Tuesday are here and here.) The group’s visit followed a written request to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from Simon, asking that the restrictions on travel to Egypt be lifted. Leaders of eight other travel associations supported the request.

"We could not have received better news after returning home," said Greteman. "It was the perfect capstone to a fantastic trip. After touring Egypt in absolute safety, it was gratifying to learn the State Department recognizes that things are normal again."

"Restoring the Journey," conducted in partnership with the tourism ministries of Egypt and Jordan, allowed delegates to visit iconic sites in the two countries, meet with tourism officials, and share information about the conditions they encountered.

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3 Reasons to Love (and Participate in) Twitter Chats 

Samantha Hosenkamp, a blogger for Ragan’s PR Daily, admits she’s addicted to Twitter chats.

What’s the difference between tweeting about a topic and participating in a Twitter chat? Chats are organized, topical discussions on Twitter that have moderators. Typically, chats last an hour and anyone can join. For example, #TourismChat is a chat for the tourism industry. DMOs, hoteliers, buyers, etc. discuss tourism topics every other Thursday at 3 p.m. ET. (NTA and some of our members already participate. You can, too! Find information about upcoming chat topics for #TourismChat here.)

Why chat? Hosenkamp cites the following ways Twitter chats can benefit your company:

  1. Networking. By tweeting, retweeting and replying to other industry colleagues in the chat, you can build valuable connections.
  2. Learn a lot, quickly. A well-run Twitter chat can deliver a good deal of worthwhile, detailed information in a short span of time.
  3. Showcase your knowledge and brand. Your interactions on the chat-sharing case studies and company experiences-can boost your brand visibility in the industry.

So let’s say you’ve decided to chat. Now what?

  • Pick your chat: Here’s a list of promoted Twitter chats. (There’s 378 and counting!) Become familiar with the topic, find out if it has a moderator/speaker and look for past chat transcripts to be sure the chat will be worth your time.
  • Find a chat tool. We recommend TweetChat (so does Hosenkamp, the blogger). Chat tools, such as TweetChat, HootSuite or TweetDeck give you a platform to read each conversation in the chat. They also will save you from having to enter the hashtag (#) every time you tweet.
  • Get in the conversation; it’s all about connections. Do announce yourself and your company when you join, share business tips relevant to the topic, and link to case studies you’re familiar with. Don’t flood the chat with links to your own site or self-promote too much. There’s a thin line there, and you don’t want to be mistaken as a spammer!
  • Follow up. Thank the moderator by sending a quick message expressing appreciation for the great conversation and questions. Follow the participants you connected with, and hopefully they’ll follow you back.

Give it a shot! Maybe we’ll see you next Thursday for #TourismChat!

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Reach 20,000 Group Leaders 

2011 Trip PlannerWant to reach group leaders who are actively planning tours? Our annual NTA Trip Planner for Group Leaders is a resource for group segments such as alumni, seniors, bank travel, hospitals, religious and travel clubs.

Check out the 2010 edition! Features in this year’s edition will include casinos, theaters, museums, restaurants and other attractions that welcome groups. The publication also will include an "I Want to Go There" section spotlighting destinations that have special appeal for groups. All NTA members can be a part of this publication: DMOs and suppliers can advertise, and tour operators and receptive sightseeing operators can purchase a listing for as little as $265.

To find out more, contact NTA Services by e-mail or phone: +1.859.264.6559.

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Industry News: Focus on Flying

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