July 12, 2005
Tuesday Newsletter July 12, 2005
July 12, 2005: Volume 25; Issue 21
The eyes of the sporting world will be on the Motor City tonight, as Major League Baseball’s 76th All-Star Game takes center stage at Comerica Park. And, if last night’s Home Run Derby is any indication, tonight’s showdown between the National League and American League should be full of fireworks.
If you tune in, you’ll be getting a sneak peak at the site of the 2005 NTA Annual Convention Icebreaker. Comerica Park is just one of the many new buildings in downtown Detroit that you’ll get to see from Nov. 4-8 once you’ve registered for Convention.
In addition to the All-Star Game, Detroit played host to three games of the 2005 NBA Finals and is the site of the Super Bowl in February 2006. Other major sporting events are slated for Motown in the coming years and, when you throw in Detroit’s on-going revitalization efforts, you’ve got a city experiencing a major renaissance.
The appointment scheduling system will be available to registered Annual Convention delegates at NTA Online starting Wednesday, July 20. The automated request system will feature a messaging component, search features and many enhancements that were identified per delegate feedback in 2004. We’ve made the system easier to use, so you can research companies you might want to meet with, make requests and prepare for your appointments in Detroit.
A brief list of the improvements include:
Click here for a full explanation of the Tour & Travel Exchange, including schedules, guidelines and information that will help you prepare your requests. Then go to NTA Online on July 20 to access the appointment scheduling system, and look for the link on the right-hand side under "What’s New."
Better Business. Better Be There.
The NTA Nominating Committee has selected nominees for the 2006 officer and board positions. Names for the Executive Committee positions are:
Vice Chairman/Chairman Elect
Three tour operator director seats (two-year terms) will be filled. The nominees are:
One DMO director seat (two-year term) will be filled. The nominees are:
One tour supplier director (two-year term) will be filled. The nominees are:
Voting for all director and officer positions will occur via e-mail ballots, mailed ballots or in person at the Annual Convention in Detroit. Ballots will be e-mailed to members with valid e-mail addresses in mid-September and mailed to all other members immediately thereafter.
It is NTA’s policy, under specified guidelines, to permit individuals’ names to be placed into nomination in addition to those brought forth by the Nominating Committee. These nominations are referred to as "nominations from the floor." Anyone interested in such a nomination should contact Todd Hamilton at 800-682-8886, ext. 4205 (U.S. and Canada), or 859-226-4205 for details concerning required guidelines. A nomination from the floor much be received in writing at NTA Headquarters no later than August 5.
While the core business of the association’s 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, escorted tours remain a key component of tour operator business. However, 49 percent of NTA tour operators now offer independent packages compared to 39 percent in 2003. 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 (as 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 on 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 products. 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.
According to recent research from the National Tour Association, many of its tour operator members have adapted their businesses to meet the demands of today’s travelers by focusing on special interests.
The association’s tour operators are increasingly offering more special interest packages, such as hard and soft adventure, gay and lesbian travel, sports tours, wine tasting, gardening and agriculture. Seniors/future seniors (60 or older) represent the largest customer base for NTA tour operators, yet NTA’s latest research also shows that its tour operators are serving an increasing amount of leading-edge boomers (age 51-59) and trailing-edge boomers (age 39-50).
According to the Web-based survey, the most popular travel packages among NTA tour operators are historic/heritage (74 percent), events (73 percent) and cultural (71 percent). Fall foliage tours continue to be popular, with 71 percent offering packages to their customers. Wine tasting tours have increased by 23 percent since 2003, family tours are up 31 percent from 2003 and learning tours have increased by 35 percent.
"This research indicates a common trend among today’s travelers seeking out the experiential and unique," NTA President Hank Phillips, CTP, said. "Consumers want authentic hands-on experiences and a tour that will give them a VIP experience. NTA is keeping in step with its members as they adapt their product. This diversification is an example of how we’re continuing the association’s proud heritage, while looking to have a broader representation in this dynamic marketplace."
Those heading to Detroit for NTA’s Annual Convention won’t want to miss this all new Rock for Tomorrow Dance Party on Saturday night following the Icebreaker. The event, sponsored by Circle Michigan and the Michigan members of NTA, is just another reason to attend the Convention.
"Rock" returns to a familiar venue, the Hard Rock Café, and all revenues from this great event will go to benefit the non-profit Tourism Cares for Tomorrow. In addition to seeing old friends and making new ones, you can party and dance the night away to the sounds of The Sun Messenger. The multi-dimensional group is the resident band of the Detroit Pistons basketball team and plays rock, oldies, Motown, funk and swing.
Space is limited, so make sure to get your tax-deductible tickets today when you register for Annual Convention. The $40 advance tickets also are available by contacting Tourism Cares for Tomorrow at 781-821-5990. If tickets are available on site, they’ll be $50 and you can purchase them at the door.
For more information on Tourism Cares for Tomorrow, go to http://www.tourismcaresfortomorrow.org/.
When traveling abroad, it is imperative to keep abreast of the political climate of the various countries you will be visiting. While this is true for any group heading overseas, it is especially important for tour operators who are organizing student and youth trips to take every precaution to ensure the safety of these younger travelers.
While news programs and newspapers are a great resource for keeping current on political situations, it is difficult to find the facts and to keep them straight. The U.S. Department of State’s Web site includes the latest information on 198 countries – from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. In addition to updates on political issues or unrest, you can find demographics, geography and national economic data related to each country. The site is a great resource for operators who are researching new destinations or for late-breaking news on frequent itinerary stops.
This, and other helpful information for your business, can be found on the Student & Youth Areas of Interest and Marketing (AIM) travel page on NTA Online. For further information on the Student & Youth Travel AIM, click here.
One of the places you can visit as part of NTA’s Product Development Trip to Germany’s Bavarian Region Oct. 6-12 is Lake Starnberg. Once the romantic getaway for the famous King Ludwig II and the Great Empress Sisi, Lake Starnberg is an enrapturing natural paradise.
Starnberg, along with the other four surrounding lakes, make up one of the most naturally beautiful locations in all of Germany. Outdoor recreation such as biking, hiking, swimming and sailing, are all possible in the shadows of the Alps and in the ambiance of the clean healthy waters of the lakes. Golf is also an option for pros and duffers alike. In addition to exploring the outdoors, the area also features many great indoor attractions including the Votiv Chapel, the Castle of Possenhofen, the Buchheim Museum and the Andechs Monastery.
The cost of the trip is $550 – including airfare from any USAirways city, lodging, attraction tickets and most meals – and you can sign up by clicking here. It is open to full-time employees of NTA tour operators and limited to one per company (sorry, no spouses).
Opening day of this year’s Annual Convention will feature a wine & cheese reception. Co-sponsorship opportunities, which would allow you to bring 30 bottles of your area’s favorite variety of wine (15 each of red and white) and showcase your destination, are still available.
In addition to getting your name in front of all Convention delegates, the benefits of co-sponsoring the reception include getting a booth in the mall area for the duration of Convention, guaranteed acceptance in the Tour & Travel Exchange® and an insert in the registration bags.
For a complete list of benefits and more information click here. Contact Karla DiNardo today at 800-682-8886, ext. 4232 (U.S. and Canada) or 859-226-4232 to reserve your co-sponsorship or for more details.
You can advertise available positions in your company through Tuesday. To post your ad in the NTA Job Center section of Tuesday, please e-mail NTA Communications Specialist Pat Henderson. The cost is $250 and your ad will run in two consecutive issues. The association will send an invoice upon publication of the posting.