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Independent Packages Growing Trend with NTA Tour Operators

July 6, 2005

Independent Packages Growing Trend with NTA Tour Operators
July 6, 2005 – While the core business of the National Tour Association tour operator members remains group tours, independent packages are increasing in order to more fully meet the demands of today’s traveler. According to a recent Web-based study of its tour operators, NTA found a 26 percent increase in those who offer independent packages in the past two years alone.


With 96 percent of NTA tour operators offering group travel, it is clear that escorted tours are a key component of tour operator business. However, today 49 percent of NTA tour operators offer independent packages compared to 39 percent in 2003. To put this into perspective, NTA tour operators estimate that 79 percent of their overall sales volume, both domestic and international, is derived from group tours, while independent packages constitute 17 percent of overall sales. This is compared to 12 percent in 2003.


"This growing trend in independent packages reflects the diversity of tour operators," NTA Chairman and CEO Ann Thomas, CTP, said. "It is allowing us to be more creative and flexible in our packages. I am enjoying working more with families, with soft adventure tours such as golf and kayaking, as well as many other kinds of original packages."


As NTA tour operators continue to work more with the independent customer, they are adapting their product. NTA tour operators report that 56 percent of their tours are customized compared to 49 percent in 2003. Along with this increase, tour operators rank customer input as their highest priority when developing new itineraries.


The National Tour Association has nearly 4,000 tourism professional members from 28 countries involved in the growth and development of the packaged travel industry. Its membership includes tour operators – group, independent, inbound and outbound – and the destinations and suppliers that partner with them. The association is committed to providing business results and information to its members, while offering a collaborative, caring environment in which to build relationships. For more information, please visit

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