May 31, 2005
Tuesday Newsletter May 31, 2005
May 31, 2005: Volume 25; Issue 15
Have you taken the time to register for the 2005 Annual Convention in Detroit? If not, there is no time like the present.
The early bird deadline for tour operators to sign up is just over a month away. Register by July 8 to qualify for the early bird registration discount, a savings of $110 (U.S.), to be eligible for the tour operator rebate (of up to $650) and to have a chance to win a two-year lease on a 2006 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx (a value of $5,000).
Suppliers and DMOs should register right away to secure a spot in the Tour & Travel Exchange. More buyers in the Exchange mean more business for you. You must be registered to take advantage, so don’t delay.
Signing up is fast and easy. Simply click here to register online or call 800-682-8886, ext. 4444 (U.S. and Canada) or 859-226-4444 and speak to someone in your Member Services Department. We are happy to walk you through the registration process or answer any questions related to Convention or other association business.
Better Business. Better Be There.
As reported in national news, United Airlines and its largest union are under pressure to reach a new contract agreement by a judge’s Tuesday, May 31, deadline to avoid a 20,000-person strike. Negotiators between the airline and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers continue to work toward resolving differences over the terms of a new five-year contract.
If an agreement can’t be met, Bankruptcy Judge Eugene Wedoff stated he would rule today on whether United can break the union’s contract unilaterally in order to impose lower wages and benefits. If the ruling is in the airline’s favor, IAM contends workers are poised to walk off their jobs if necessary.
NTA is monitoring the situation and has contacted United representatives for further information. Please stay tuned to "This Just In" on the NTA’s homepage for updates.
The Department of Homeland Security reminded travelers that the date for anyone entering the United States from the 27 Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries to have machine-readable passports is June 26, 2005. The deadline has been extended twice, but starting June 26 transportation carriers will be fined if they are caught transporting any VWP travelers without a machine-readable passport.
Machine-readable passports have a sequence of lines that can be swiped by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers to confirm the passport holder’s identity quickly and to obtain other information about the holder typically found on a passport’s inside cover. Even if a traveler from a VWP country currently has a valid passport, they must have been renewed or updated with the bar code.
This policy affects only citizens visiting the U.S. from the 27 VWP countries, which are Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Association Secretary Randy Julian represented NTA at a focus group meeting designed to make improvements to the White House Visitors Center. The National Park Service, which hopes the center will become a vital Washington D.C., attraction, asked for input from the travel/tourism industry in order to make the center more user-friendly.
The Visitors Center is located in the Department of Commerce Building at 1450 Pennsylvania Ave. and currently provides educational programs including exhibits, orientation videos and a museum gift shop offering White House-themed items.
"The White House Visitors Center has huge potential in my estimation," Julian said. "Any NTA operator who includes D.C. in their program offerings has more than a passing interest in the future of the Visitors Center."
Want to link up with SeeAmerica, the brand developed by the Travel Industry Association of America partnership with travel industry organizations that promotes the United States as a tourism destination? SeeAmerica.org is the premier online portal to numerous U.S. travel Web sites, and there are many ways for you to become one of the 10,000-plus links to hotels, airlines, attractions, convention and visitor bureaus or state tourism offices on the site. Here are some ideas:
A link button also is provided with instructions on how to link your site to SeeAmerica.org. The only thing they ask is that if at all possible the SeeAmerica.org logo or banner be used to make the link. SeeAmerica.org also contains a Travel Tips and Tools section, which could be a good resource for you in finding out additional information.
The basic naming rules that every travel company will have to follow when registering a ".travel" domain name are now available in summary form at NTA Online. Click here to access information on .travel naming policies. Pre-authentication for .travel begins July 1, 2005, and having the proper documentation to NTA prior to that date will streamline the pre-authentication process for your company.
Everything is finalized for the 2005-2006 NTA Membership Directory, and it will be mailed out to all members this week – one copy per company. For the first time, suppliers, DMOs and tour operators all are listed in this great reference publication. Another enhancement is the use of four-color throughout this year’s edition, which checks in at 662 pages.
Tourism Cares for Tomorrow’s June 14 Hall of Fame Dinner is shaping up to be a record-setting event. More than 400 travel and tourism industry leaders are expected to attend, and even though table sales closed May 24, individual seats are still available until June 7 through a new on-line reservation option at http://www.tourismcaresfortomorrow.org/TourismCares/Programs/Hall+of+Fame.htm or by calling Sarah Mann at 508-540-1990.
Ten major corporations have signed on as platinum sponsors for Tourism Cares’ first major fundraiser, which recognizes 2005 inductees John Stachnik of Mayflower Tours and Gilbert Haroche of Liberty/GOGO for their philanthropic work. The 10 leading contributors are Alamo Rent a Car, American Airlines, Carnival Corporation, Club Med, Mohegan Sun Resort & Casino, The New York Times, Oracle, Royal Caribbean/Celebrity Cruises, Sandals and Starwood Hotels and Resorts.
Participant evaluations for the 2005 NTA Tour Operator Spring Meet have been compiled and the results are encouraging. This year’s Spring Meet, held in Sacramento, Calif., was given an 8.5 overall rating (on a 10.0 scale). That figure represents the highest mark Spring Meet has received the past five years.
One of the main areas of improvement was the partnering session, which was replaced by a networking program based on the speed dating concept for 2005. Speed dating was rated an 8.3, and that marked a significant jump over the four-year average of 6.6 that the partnering session received.
Momentum is already building for the 2006 Spring Meet, to be held March 22-25, 2006, in Louisville, Ky.
For ultimate visibility at NTA’s Annual Convention, consider sponsoring a meal function, particularly a luncheon. By sponsoring a luncheon, you’re entitled to a litany of benefits including premium booth space on the Convention floor, guaranteed acceptance in the Tour & Travel Exchange, complimentary membership for 2006, access to an electronic list of all delegates, a listing in all Annual Convention publications and many other things that increase your visibility.