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2008 NTA Grassroots Symposium Brings Industry Together for Collaboration and Updates

July 1, 2008

2008 NTA Grassroots Symposium Brings Industry Together for Collaboration and Updates
July 1, 2008. – Representative from more than 30 NTA member companies convened in Washington, D.C., June 24-26, for NTA’s 2008 Grassroots Symposium. This has been a key year for NTA’s government relations efforts with its call for an Executive Office of Travel and Tourism, the presidential election, and NTA’s revitalized Grassroots Action Network. Members at the symposium helped further these efforts during sessions with elected officials on current travel industry issues and a series of one-on-one meetings with Congressional representatives.

"This year, NTA revitalized its Grassroots Action Network to become the travel industry’s most comprehensive grassroots network," said NTA Public Affairs Advocate Steve Richer, CTP. "This group includes professionals from all segments of the industry, not just NTA members. The Grassroots Symposium is a true example of the mission of the grassroots network – bringing the industry together to make our voice heard and get things done in Washington. As the grassroots network continues to grow, NTA strongly believes that together we work in partnership with elected officials on industry issues and be a thunderous voice for the benefit of travel and tourism."

The event, headquartered at the new Gaylord National Resort and Conference Center, included sessions with Helen Marano, head of the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries in the Department of Commerce, Ken Dunlap of the International Air Transport Association, and an election overview and forecast from B.J. Martino of polling firm Tarrance Group. Representatives Jon Porter, R-Nev., and Sam Farr, D-Calif., co-chairs of the House Travel and Tourism Caucus, also spoke to NTA delegates about the importance of travel and tourism to the national economy and to America’s image abroad.

NTA also brought together representatives of sister associations for a roundtable discussion of important legislative and regulatory issues. The panelists were Clyde Hart of the American Bus Association, Michael Palmer of the Student/Youth Travel Association, Rick Webster of the Travel Industry Association, Chris Jones from the Tourism Industry Association of Canada and Steve Richer, CTP, from NTA. Among the issues discussed, panelists conferred on the Highway Trust Fund reauthorization, the Travel Promotion Act of 2007, the fingerprint issue, and cross-border travel issues.

NTA’s Washington team of Jim Santini and Steve Richer led the group to Capitol Hill for visits with more than 40 congressional offices.

"Many of the members of Congress remembered us and our issues from last year," noted NTA Government Relations Committee Chairman Ed Dresel. "It was obvious that Congressional staff did their homework and studied our issues before we arrived. There seemed to be a recognition of the importance of travel and tourism to the U.S. economy and image abroad that we haven’t seen in past years."

The symposium was capped off by a reception in the Pose Ultra Lounge, hosted by Gaylord National. The event brought Grassroots Symposium attendees together, along with the board of directors of the United Motorcoach Association and invited guests from the Washington, D.C., area.

The Grassroots Symposium would not be possible without the generosity of several NTA members. New World Bus once again provided transportation for the symposium group to and from Capitol Hill, Union Station DC/Jones Lang Lasalle provided meal vouchers for participants to use at Union Station, Entertainment Cruises provided the evening harbor cruise on the Capital Elite, and the Gaylord National provided special attendee room rates and the wrap-up reception.

The National Tour Association was established in 1951 as a unified voice to fight legislation in the newly formed packaged travel industry. Today, NTA’s government relations activities include monitoring security issues, as well as state and federal legislation and regulatory issues affecting the travel and tourism industry. NTA maintains full-time representation in Washington, D.C., to serve as the association’s voice on Capitol Hill. Additionally, NTA empowers its members to be advocates for the association on the local level, as well as to provide support for NTA’s positions on national priority issues through its Grassroots Action Network. For more information on NTA’s government relations activities, please visit

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