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Presidential Candidate Outreach Tops 2008 Government Relations Priorities

February 12, 2008

Presidential Candidate Outreach Tops 2008 Government Relations Priorities
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The NTA Board of Directors has determined the priority advocacy issues for the association in 2008. Reaching out to the presidential candidates and the creation of a director of travel/tourism in the White House are among the association’s top priorities.


This year, NTA is working to generate more "co-opetition" in the industry, joining with its industry partners to address the issues affecting the industry.


The association’s top priority is:

  • Presidential candidate outreach and creation of a director of travel/tourism in the White House – NTA is working to emphasize the importance of travel and tourism to the presidential candidates, as part of its larger goal to establish an executive office of travel and tourism. NTA has contacted the 2008 presidential candidates to make them aware of travel-related issues that concern Americans and to share with the candidates what they can do to address them. Among the solutions recommended to improve air service are more regular access to controlled air space, increased technology to improve air traffic control, and additional federal funding for more runways at high demand airports.

Other priorities for the association this year include:

  • Travel laws, regulations and passenger protection – Over the years, NTA has successfully battled a myriad of sellers of travel laws. NTA will continue to keep a close watch on regulations impacting the industry and all travelers.


  • Taxes and fees – NTA strongly opposes increased travel and tourism taxes, especially if the revenue is targeted to go to the general fund or toward deficit reduction. The only positive travel industry taxes are those that are "invested" in tourism promotion, infrastructure development and job creation.


  • U.S. entry and exit issues – NTA will continue to help the federal government find ways to reduce visa delays, improve access at ports-of-entry, and address other issues creating negative perceptions about visiting the United States, while maintaining the highest possible levels of security.


  • National Parks: Access, fees and voluntourism – Last year, NTA secured a re-commitment from the National Park Service to give tour operators ample notice of any fee increases. NTA will work with NPS this year on group price structures. NTA also will work with the organization to ensure equal access, enhance their environmental programs and to initiate a voluntourism program with 40 national park sites.


  • Travel Promotion Act of 2007 – NTA is working with the Travel Industry Association on many issues related to the Discover America Partnership including the Travel Promotion Act of 2007 (H.R. 3232/S. 1661), which would create the Corporation for Travel Promotion. This nonprofit organization would provide funding necessary for the United States to promote itself as a destination to international markets.

"NTA has never been more strongly positioned to make change happen than this year with the help of NTA Legislative Counsel Jim Santini, NTA Public Affairs Advocate Steve Richer, CTP, and the newly expanded Grassroots Action Network," said NTA Chairman and CEO Bob Hoelscher, CTP. "As the first industry association to have full-time representation in Washington, D.C., NTA will continue to lead the industry to make sure we have a voice on the Hill. This year, we will work to ensure the 2008 candidates recognize Americans’ fundamental freedom to travel and address safety and security procedures to ensure that this right continues."

NTA’s government relations priorities are determined with input from the association’s tour operator members and the NTA Government Relations Committee.

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 or call 800.682.8886.


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