September 11, 2007
Tuesday Newsletter Sept. 11, 2007
Volume 27: Issue 37
|This issue of Tuesday is sponsored by Tourisme Montréal.
North American life and European charm, a dynamic cultural scene and vibrant festivals where creativity never fails. Our goal is to help you in organizing events and tour packages. For a sweet escape, Montréal is an absolute must. It is an experience to live and share.
|Interested in becoming a Tuesday sponsor? E-mail Karla DiNardo at karla.dinardo@NTA.travel.|
Fuel Surcharge Reminder for Tour Operators
|NTA continues to remember the families of the victims and others who were affected by the tragedy that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001.|
Whether you are a first-time delegate or a veteran, the "NTA Survival Guide: A First-timer’s Guide to the NTA Annual Convention" is a great resource to help you prepare NTA’s marquee event. The guide brings you suggestions on how to prepare, tips from veterans, diagrams of the Convention Floor and much more.
"I think there is a lot of information in here that should be distributed to more than just first-timers," said 2007 Convention Chair Bob Hofmann of Broadway Inbound. "There are a lot of good lessons, and since we have been enhancing Convention over the past four years or so, many old timers are really first-timers and are the hardest to teach new tricks."
Another resource available for newcomers is the audio from last week’s Web seminar for first-timers. The link to the audio portion of the hour-long Convention preparation session will be available at NTA.travel next week.
Sign up to volunteer a little of your time at the 2007 NTA Annual Convention. Beyond your business appointments, volunteering is a great way to make new friends and get more face time with potential business partners during Convention. Below are some ways you can help yourself and NTA in Kansas City, Missouri.
- Mock Appointments (Veteran volunteers only): Practice makes perfect and conducting simulated Convention appointments is no exception. Help newcomers shed their jitters and stage their appointment presentation for those precious seven minutes by participating in mock appointments.
- Convention 101 Presenters (Veteran volunteers only): Share your experience by conducting one of the seminars geared towards helping first-timers excel during Convention.
The NTA contact for both opportunities is Manager of Member Relations Lori Rempe.
In addition to the Mock Appointments and Convention 101 presenters, the following volunteer opportunities are still available for anyone: the Buddy Program, Convention Registration, Government Relations Booth, Research Center, Seminar Monitor and Tourism Cares mentor. You can enhance your Convention experience by volunteering and, at the same time, help make this year’s Annual Convention a huge success.
Click here for more information regarding the volunteer program or to sign-up as a volunteer.
Tourism Cares is looking for NTA delegates who would like to host a student for the Issues Luncheon on Sunday, Nov. 4, during the Annual Convention.
You will be hosting a Tourism Cares scholarship recipient or a student studying hospitality and tourism from a university in the Kansas City, Missouri, area. Tourism Cares has awarded scholarships worth more than $100,000 the past two years to students studying at more than 60 universities in North America. Many past scholarship recipients have stated that the "Experience the Industry Program" at NTA Convention was the most beneficial part of their scholarship experience.
Tickets to the Issues Luncheon are $50. Contact Natalie King at Tourism Cares if you are interested in helping enhance the Convention experience of a future tourism industry leader.
NTA wants to keep you in the loop on two items that will figure prominently at the upcoming Annual Convention: the recently announced membership resolution and the Buyer-to-Buyer Exchange.
In July, the NTA Leadership Team recommended a resolution to the NTA Board, which the board enacted. It outlines several key actions including exploring a single membership structure, examining the marketplace to expand the list of potential members and exploring other entities, such as group leaders, for involvement with the association other than membership.
What are the specifics of a single membership structure, what new members could join NTA and how would other entities like group leaders be involved? It’s up to you to help the association answer these questions, and the board encourages you to provide input.
Research and gathering member feedback are the next key steps in this exploration, so a letter was mailed from NTA Chairman Randy Julian to the entire membership with the resolution. Also, a short member survey will be conducted to gather input prior to Convention. This survey will allow members not attending Convention to provide their comments. Members also will have access to the research and background information that was available to the Leadership Team when they penned the resolution in July.
In Kansas City, Julian will discuss the resolution at the new all-member business meeting luncheon on Saturday, and each membership category can provide feedback during their Election and Talk Time sessions.
Also in Kansas City, NTA will offer a Buyer-to-Buyer Exchange for the first time. Qualified professional travel buyers are invited to participate, which include travel agents and education and bank travel planners, not group leaders.
The Convention Committee and NTA Board helped create a one-day program for these professional travel buyer guests. Besides the Buyer-to-Buyer Exchange, where they will meet with tour operators in seven-minute prescheduled appointments, buyers can attend the Holiday Inn Luncheon, an educational session with Marc Mancini, the Wine and Cheese Reception, the Best Western Tour Operator Dinner and the Destination Pavilion. At the Destination Pavilion, the travel buyers are encouraged to take ideas for product development to their operator partners.
NTA President Lisa Simon, CTP, will travel to Beijing, China, this week to represent NTA at the Eighth Beijing Central Business District International Business Festival. Simon will be speaking at the Tourism Forum about business and leisure travel, as well as China’s urban development and the important role travel and tourism play in that development.
The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that travel to Asia has seen significant expansion over the last year, with China setting a record for growth in outbound travel to America. A recent study showed travel to China increased by 9.6 percent in 2006.
In her speech, Simon will encourage Chinese business leaders to look at the services and facilities they have, and are developing, in order to continue to attract the international market. Simon also will share tips on providing the best service to travelers and ideas for establishing green space. These topics are in line with the commitment China has made to tourism and urban development as it undergoes profound economic and social development.
NTA reminds tour operators that the U.S. Department of Transportation is cracking down on tour operator pricing, specifically how airline fuel surcharges are priced in tour advertisements.
The DOT has mandated that per-person government imposed or approved taxes and fees, such as Passenger Facility Charges, international departure taxes, U.S. Customs, Immigration and Security fees and foreign airport taxes, may be broken out of the advertised fare, provided the amounts of such fees and charges are clearly stated elsewhere in the advertisement.
Excise taxes and federal excise taxes, however, must be included in the advertised fare. This is because they are charged on a percentage, not a per-passenger basis. Fuel surcharges may never be broken out from an advertised fare unless imposed by a government agency on a per-passenger basis. Advertised tour prices, if air is included in the package, must include airline imposed fuel surcharges.
NTA and USTOA suggest for print ads and brochures that tour operators include language such as: "Air-inclusive prices are subject to change and may be higher at the time you purchase your tour. For current prices, please consult our Web site, contact a travel professional, or call us today."
Violations of these provisions have resulted in fines of up to $25,000 per infraction. NTA and USTOA are working together to get a reasonable solution to this issue for tour operators.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has issued a reminder to air carriers and the public that the temporary flexibility on Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative requirements will end Sept. 30. After that date, U.S. citizens traveling by air within the Western Hemisphere must have a passport.
NTA has been concerned about the impact of the WHTI passport requirements since they were announced in 2005. Your association sent comments to the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State saying that they are "woefully unprepared to implement the sea/land portion of WHTI, given the history of the air implementation" and urging that the land and sea requirements not be implemented before June 2009.
In a letter to the departments, NTA stated, "Any deadline in 2008 will likely add to the tremendous confusion surrounding cross-border travel, create significant delays at our land ports of entry, and create travel-related frustration and that simply would not occur if the proper timetable for implementation was observed. Security is not served by confusion."
For more information, visit http://www.dhs.gov/.
The U.S. State Department says that passport processing times are back to normal after dealing with months of major delays. The department experienced a backlog brought on largely by travelers seeking to comply with the provisions of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.
Department officials report that passport processing times have returned to the standard six to eight weeks for routine passport applications, and no more than three weeks for expedited service. To date, the department said it has issued more than 16 million passports in fiscal year 2007, which ends on Sept. 30, compared to 12.1 million in fiscal year 2006.
"We’re very pleased that we’ve been able to get back to the customer service standard that has long been our desire, and pleased that we’ve been able to do so in accordance with the commitments that we made to the American people and Congress," Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey said.
In order to deal with the crisis, the department hired hundreds of employees at passport centers after the processing time reached more than three months for a standard application. There are plans to expand passport facilities and continue to hire more passport specialists, since the demand is expected to continue to increase as the implementation deadline for the land and sea WHTI requirements draws near.
For more information, visit http://www.travel.state.gov/.
The last Product Development Trip for 2007 is already a hit, as nearly 20 tour operators have registered to go to Peru. However, there is still availability if you’d like to learn more about packaging this incredible destination.
NTA’s host for this trip – Akorn Destination Management – is so certain that NTA tour operators will find a wealth of new product ideas that they have made plenty of space available. And, operators can send up to two people per company.
The product development trip will showcase the culture and heritage of Peru, including a once-in-a-lifetime visit to Machu Picchu, and this is a product development opportunity not to be missed. Registration is open until Oct. 2.
For more information, contact NTA Vice President of Marketing Lisa Thompson.
The NTA member forums offer a great way for members to share thoughts, ideas and opinions on a wide range of subjects. As an online community within NTA, the forums are a place to ask colleagues for information and to share ideas.
The password protected forums are available to see what other members have written and to post responses. For example, you can use the member forums to give your two cents on this year’s board elections or to ask a question of the candidates.
The member forums have a convenient subscription feature that allows you to enter a request to receive e-mail notifications when a new post is made. Members can read postings, reply to them and add new topics for discussions for all members to see. Be sure to check back to read responses to your comments.
The December 2007 issue of Courier offers plenty of ways to get your company or destination in front of tour operators.
The issue will include a recap of the 2007 Annual Convention and a feature on Artisan and Factory Tours. The Trip Planners showcase the Rockies (Alberta, British Columbia, Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Utah) and the Smoky Mountains (Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge). December Travel Guides highlight Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.
The space deadline for December Courier is Sept. 26, so there is still plenty of time to get in the magazine ranked No. 1 in the industry by tour operators. You can access the 2007 Editorial Calendar or the 2008 Editorial Calendar at NTA.travel.
To reach your account executive call 800.682.8886, ext. 4232 (U.S. and Canada) or 859.226.4232 or e-mail advertising@NTA.travel.