Tour Operators Convene in San Diego for NTA Conference
August 15, 2012
NTA members are arriving this week in San Diego to attend Contact, the association’s tour operator-exclusive conference. During the Aug. 16–18 gathering, more than 100 NTA members will participate in in-depth education, business appointments and highly anticipated networking events at iconic San Diego attractions.
New this year is the China Market Forum, a series of seminars that explores the challenges and opportunities of the growing Chinese tourism market, both inbound and outbound. Leaders of the sessions include Yaping Xue, director of the Chinese National Tourism Office; Isabel Hill, deputy director for policy and planning with the U.S. Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, and NTA members experienced in the China market.
"Education is a principal component of Contact, and our focus on the China market is spot-on for this event, as California is the primary gateway for Chinese visitors," said Lisa Simon, NTA president.
The city of San Diego will take center stage throughout Contact, with Thursday sightseeing tours that include La Jolla, Coronado and the Embarcadero. Evening events are slated for the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park, SeaWorld San Diego and a collection of local restaurants. Finally, a 5-kilometer run is scheduled for Saturday morning, with proceeds benefiting NTA’s ongoing government-relations efforts.
Besides education and destination exploration, Contact is based on business, said Simon, explaining that the conference provides both scheduled and spontaneous opportunities to conduct business.
"We’ll have a lot of enjoyable and enriching activities, but what makes Contact work so well is the productive time our tour operators can spend together," she said. "In an intimate setting like this, they’re able to explore ideas for itineraries and form fruitful partnerships."
Attendees at this year’s Contact will next be able to touch base at Travel Exchange, NTA’s annual event that puts the full spectrum of North American travel buyers and sellers on the same floor. Travel Exchange, held in conjunction with the United Motorcoach Association’s Expo, takes place January 20–24, 2013, in Orlando, Florida.