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NTA Tour Operator Spring Meet – It’s About Choice

January 23, 2006

NTA Tour Operator Spring Meet – It’s About Choice
January 23, 2006 – The National Tour Association will hold its 2006 Tour Operator Spring Meet in Louisville, Ky., March 22-25. The annual event offers more choices for delegates than ever before in this Southern city of history, horses and hospitality.


Spring Meet is a relaxed atmosphere, where NTA operators meet on a more informal basis to discuss industry events and collaborate with fellow operators to build travel packages for consumers.



"NTA recognizes how important it is for tour operators to build relationships with their peers," NTA Chairman and CEO Judith Thomas, CTP, said. "This event is designed to give them the chance to be surrounded by industry colleagues and discuss business issues and strategies affecting the industry. Spring Meet is the perfect venue for tour operators to grow their business."


Tour operators will partner face-to-face, including the popular speed-dating session, allowing operators to make in excess of 20 contacts in 75 minutes. Attendees also can continue their education at top-notch professional development seminars covering consumer trends and developing business techniques.


Among this year’s outstanding lineup of entertainment and social activities is the Taste of Kentucky Icebreaker, featuring Bluegrass music, traditional Kentucky foods and Kentucky bourbon at the Kentucky Derby Museum. Kentucky’s famous dessert, Derby Pie, will be served in the new $121 million renovation of Churchill Downs and delegates will experience Millionaire’s Row at Churchill Downs, where everyone who is anyone takes in the "fastest two minutes in sports."


The Friday night event will take place at Louisville’s newest attraction, the Muhammad Ali Center. The six-story center is a tribute to Ali’s unparalleled career and his peaceful political views and principles.


When not in session or experiencing all that Louisville has to offer, delegates will enjoy the finest accommodations at the Galt House Hotel & Suites in newly remodeled suites.


In addition to daily seminars and networking sessions, participants will have the chance to enjoy six unique sightseeing tours throughout the conference. These tours include art, shopping and historical options that showcase the city and surrounding areas. Escorted by local industry professionals, NTA tour operators also will have the opportunity to explore the area on Fam tours before and after the conference. See below for a complete list of these tours.


NTA would like to thank the following Gold Level sponsors for their support of the 2006 Spring Meet: Churchill Downs, Disney Theatrical Productions, Kentucky Derby Museum, Greater Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and Theatre Direct/ For a complete list of Spring Meet sponsors, please visit


"The city of Louisville and our sponsors are poised and ready to host our tour operator members," NTA President Hank Phillips, CTP, said. "They are rolling out the red carpet and we are excited to experience Southern hospitality at its best."


The National Tour Association has a global membership of tourism professionals involved in the growth and development of the packaged travel industry. Its membership includes more than 600 tour operator companies – 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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Sightseeting tours
Handmade and Homemade – Discover the world’s largest selection of contemporary and traditional Kentucky craftwork at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft. Continue on for a tour of the American Printing House for the Blind, the oldest publishing house for visually impaired people in the United States and the largest in the world. Conclude your tour with a visit to Louisville Stoneware, America’s home of handcrafted, hand-painted stoneware since 1815.
Louisville Legends – Take a tour of the Louisville Slugger Museum and factory where the world-famous bats are created. Afterward, tour of the nation’s largest preservation districts through haunted streets and scenic alleyways in Old Louisville.
Louisville Treasures – Explore 19th century cast-iron storefronts on Louisville’s West Main Street. You’ll see history reveal itself in the facades of many of the street’s unique attractions, including Louisville Slugger Museum, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Louisville Science Center, the Kentucky Center and the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft. Next, board the Belle of Louisville, the oldest operating Mississippi-style sternwheeler and conclude your tour at Historic Locust Grove, a circa 1790 National Historic Landmark.
Masterworks – Kick off this tour at Glassworks, a studio featuring glass blowing and flame working artists. Next, you’ll drive through Old Louisville’s Historic District to see one of the largest collections of restored Victorian homes in the country. Continue on to the Speed Art Museum, spanning 6,000 years of history. St. Martin of Tours, a Roman Catholic Church designed in gothic revival architectural style is next on your list. This unique tour includes a chance to see two martyr relics and 17th century stained glass windows. Finish your day with a drive past the historic Seelbach Hilton, a National Registered Landmark, built in 1905 and immortalized in 1925 by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s "The Great Gatsby." Located nearby, you’ll see The Brown Hotel, where the infamous Hot Brown sandwich originated. The Brown also was one of the sites of the recent filming of "Elizabethtown," starring Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Duntz.
Antiquing in Louisville – Begin your tour with a stop at the Louisville Antique Mall, housed in an 1889 cotton mill. The mall has an astounding selection of antiques and collectibles dating from the 18th century through the 20th century. Next, stop off on Bardstown Road to browse the galleries, antique stores and boutiques. Along the way, you’ll drive past Cave Hill Cemetery, where famous Kentucky Colonel Harland Sanders is buried. The last stop is Joe Ley’s antiques covering 80,000 square feet of merchandise.
Louisville Gourmet – Experience some of Louisville’s finest cuisine at Limestone Restaurant where new Southern cooking and old Southern charm are the hallmarks of Chef Jim Gerhart. Enjoy a cooking demonstration featuring homegrown Kentucky products and taste what Chef Gerhart whips up. Participants will take away recipes of all the dishes prepared during the demonstration. Next, explore the Louisville Science Center. Using liquid nitrogen, you will create ice cream, with the opportunity to taste your sweet creation. After dessert, enjoy touring the rest of Kentucky’s largest, hands-on science center with more than 40,000 square feet of exhibit space that includes an IMAX Theatre.


Pre and Post fam tours
Kentucky Classics: History, Horses & Hospitality – Featuring: Bardstown; Harrodsburg’s Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill; Jim Beam’s American Outpost; the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea; the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame; Lexington, the horse capital of the world; My Old Kentucky Home; and Renfro Valley.
Kentucky River Cities and Underground Railroad Crossings – Featuring: Covington; Frankfort; General Butler State Resort Park; Maysville; Newport; Shelbyville; Washington; and Cincinnati (Ohio).
The ABCs and Ps & Qs of Kentucky – Post-Fam Tour # 1: The ABCs and Ps & Qs of Kentucky Featuring: Adsmore House Museum; John James Audubon State Park; The International Bluegrass Music Museum; Western Kentucky Barbeque; Mammoth Cave National Park; The National Corvette Museum; Patti’s 1880s Settlement; The Museum of the American Quilters Society.
Kentucky Appalachian Outdoor Adventures – Featuring: Carter Caves State Resort Park; Jenny Wiley State Resort Park; Loretta Lynn’s Birthplace; The Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg; Natural Bridge; and The Paramount Arts Center in Ashland.
Indiana Uplands Wine Trail – Featuring the newly designated route of the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail. Nestled among the rolling hills of scenic southern Indiana, the wine trail showcases southern Indiana wineries featuring quality wine and unique experiences.

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