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Tuesday Newsletter

January 25, 2005

January 25, 2005: Volume 25; Issue 2

Articles at a Glance
Board of Directors Announces Member Vote on Name Change Get Registered for Web Seminars with Ann Thomas
CrossSphere and its Partners Help Restore Industry Ticket Sales to Alcatraz Sign Up for Tourism Cares for Tomorrow Project
2005 Government Relations Action Items Approved Spring Meet Discount Deadline Extended
Get Ready for ResExpo 2005 DHL Provides Discounts to CrossSphere Members
Clarification on Mailings to United Airlines Don’t Forget to Update Your Company Profile
Advertise in the CrossSphere Membership Directory

Board of Directors Announces Member Vote on Name Change

The CrossSphere Board of Directors and Leadership Team held its first meeting of the year in Costa Mesa, Calif., last weekend. Topics of discussion included the direction for 2005, and the group reviewed the history leading up to the new association brand, the brand platform and current member feedback.

"The amount of member feedback from the branding launch reaffirms that CrossSphere members are very passionate about this association," CrossSphere Chairman Ann Thomas, CTP, said. "After listening to the members and the Leadership Team, the Board has elected to proceed with a bylaw vote to accept the new name following a communications and informational period."

While an exact date is not set for the bylaw vote, it will follow the CrossSphere Tour Operator Spring Meet on March 30-April 2. The communications and informational period leading up to the vote will include an all-member outreach program about the branding process and the strategic direction of the association.

Since the launch of the new brand and name during the CrossSphere Annual Convention in November, the association has received feedback from members who support the change, as well as from members who do not support it. In formulating a course of action, CrossSphere wanted to have input from its Leadership Team, a 60-person membership council, which includes the Board of Directors and represents each of the diverse association’s membership categories.

Following discussions and a review of branding materials in Costa Mesa, the Leadership Team conducted a written survey. Ninety-four percent of the 60-member group support a name change, 81 percent support CrossSphere as the name, and 63 percent said that members should have a vote on the name. That led to the call for a vote on an amendment to the bylaws to accept CrossSphere as the name of the association.

Tour operator members of the association vote on bylaw amendments with passage requiring a two-thirds majority of those voting. Once the exact date of the vote is known, it will be publicized in future issues of Tuesday and on "This Just In" at

"The Board of Directors stands firmly behind the brand platform, and CrossSphere is the best name to help us communicate this brand and our strategic direction," Thomas said. "I’m definitely encouraging our tour operator members to support this amendment."

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Get Registered for Web Seminars with Ann Thomas

The upcoming hour-long Web seminars with CrossSphere Chairman Ann Thomas give you the perfect opportunity to learn more about the brand platform and find out more on the bylaw vote on the name change.

There will be two Web seminars conducted next week; the first on Wednesday, Feb. 2 and the second on Thursday, Feb. 3. Both of these sessions will begin at 2 p.m. EST, and there will be a question and answer period as part of the seminars.

To sign up for either session, click on the link below that corresponds to the date, complete the registration information and hit submit. You should receive an e-mail invitation within minutes of registration that will provide your link to the online seminar and your dial-in information for the audio portion.

To register for the Feb. 2 session, click here.

To register for the Feb. 3 session, click here.

If you have any questions regarding the Web seminars or registration, please contact Lisa Nelson at

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CrossSphere and its Partners Help Restore Industry Ticket Sales to Alcatraz

In a letter received by CrossSphere Legislative Counsel Jim Santini, the National Park Service announced a new ticket procedure for Alcatraz, effective Jan. 30, 2005, which will allow access to tickets for tour groups.

The procedure will retain many elements of the previous ticket system, and here are two of the points of emphasis from the letter:

    1) As before, tickets for these companies will come from the bonded group tickets (i.e. youths under 18, adults requiring physical assistance, seniors over 62) which are unsold 90 days prior to departure.
    2) As before, companies will be able to request available space one year plus one day in advance, or as far in advance as the current schedule allows. Clients for these tickets must complete and have on file with the concessioner an approved application. There is still the requirement/acknowledgement and agreement that tour and travel companies/ticket packagers must package Alcatraz tickets with other services and clearly disclose Alcatraz ticket prices at their face value.

The plan also includes two new components:

    1) Each written request from a company may ask for a maximum of 50 tickets for one departure with a maximum of 300 tickets purchased by any one company per month. A maximum of 10 requests may be made per company/group, per month, for the maximum of 300 tickets.
    2) The concessioner will confirm reservations 90 days prior to departure. Tickets will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis, based upon availability only.

CrossSphere continues to press the National Parks Service on a few issues – including increasing the number of tickets available to groups – to resolve the situation to everyone’s benefit. Further updates on this will be covered in upcoming issues of Tuesday or on "This Just In" at

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Sign Up for Tourism Cares for Tomorrow Project

Mount Vernon, Va., is the site of the 2005 Tourism – Caring For America project, to be held May 13.

Tourism Cares for Tomorrow, the new industry-wide nonprofit organization that has absorbed all the programs of the National Tourism Foundation and the Travelers Conservation Foundation, has announced the opening of registration for the third major industry clean-up day, called Tourism – Caring for America. The 2005 project will be held at George Washington’s colonial home in Mount Vernon, Va., Friday, May 13, immediately following the CrossSphere Grassroots Symposium in Washington, D.C., on May 10-12.

Each year, the tourism industry gets together and gives a day’s worth of hard labor to assist a major historic or cultural site. The 2005 effort is an innovative volunteer program that offers the tourism industry an opportunity to give back by cleaning up and/or restoring tourism-related sites in need of care and rejuvenation.

The 2005 project at Mount Vernon includes helping clean up nearly 300 acres of forest surrounding Washington’s home that were damaged by Hurricane Isabel in 2003. The work is aimed at significantly diminishing the risk of forest fires, providing enhanced shelter for animals, improving the appearance of the Potomac River shoreline and creating the opportunity for the forest to regenerate.

To get involved, contact Tourism Cares For Tomorrow’s Executive Director Bruce Beckham at 781-821-5990 or via e-mail at There are sponsorships and visibility projects available, or you can register to participate on May 13 at Mount Vernon by clicking here. Space is limited, so get signed up today.

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2005 Government Relations Action Items Approved

At the first 2005 Leadership Meeting, held last weekend, the CrossSphere Board of Directors approved the following Government Relations Active Priorities for 2005:

  • Travel industry taxes and user fees
  • Border crossing/security procedures and processes
  • Fair Labor Standards Act/overtime pay for tour directors
  • Industry voice – representation within the Department of Homeland Security
  • National parks issues – access, fees and ticket distribution
  • State/local/provincial travel laws and regulations
  • Non-profit groups that engage in for-profit tour business
  • International inbound Visa issues

    The committee noted that International Tourism Laws and Regulations should be an area of educational and informational emphasis for the association. However, this emphasis doesn’t involve advocacy and was not listed on the 2005 Active Priority list.

    To compile this list, feedback was sought from the association’s tour operator members, and then the Government Relations committee put together the final version – following a January conference call – to present to the Board in Costa Mesa, Calif.

    In other Government Relations action at Costa Mesa, the Board okayed a $10 increase in the price of tickets for the Issues Luncheon at Annual Convention. This marks the first time since 1999 the cost of those tickets has gone up.

    The Board also gave CrossSphere the ability to solicit funds from tour operator members for the purpose of significantly increasing the effort to attain a proper resolution regarding the Fair Labor Standards Act/tour director employment issue. Monies are needed right away to help the fight to specifically define the status of tour directors and put an end to lawsuits – against tour operators – brought by tour directors seeking back pay and benefits for services previously rendered. Information concerning the issue will be distributed shortly to tour operator members.

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    Spring Meet Discount Deadline Extended

    The early bird registration deadline for the 2005 Tour Operator Spring Meet in Sacramento, Calif., has been extended to Feb. 4. To save $50, members need to get signed up before next Friday by filling out the registration form.

    Additionally, the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau is offering discounts of up to $1,000 if you attend Spring Meet, to be held March 30-April 2. Click here to learn more about how you can qualify for possible rebates and get even more benefit from the Spring Meet, besides the extensive partnering opportunities, informative breakout sessions, top-shelf educational programs and pre- or post-Meet Fam Tours.

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    Get Ready for ResExpo 2005

    ResExpo 2005, to be held March 1-3 at the Omni Hotel-CNN Center in Atlanta, is slated to herald a dramatic turning point in the tour and vacation industry, and CrossSphere is taking a leading role as an affiliate sponsor of the event.

    Themed "Big Ideas in Travel Distribution – From Revolution to Execution," ResExpo 2005 will take you to the front lines in revolutionary technologies, alternative distribution methods, dynamic packaging news and other changes affecting the way travel professionals will conduct business going forward. ResExpo 2005 will mark the official rebirth of the North American chapter of TOWARD, a powerful organization that has been restructured to help members adapt to industry changes and find effective opportunities for going to market through the use of technology.

    CrossSphere members can take advantage of the discounted registration fee of $200 by clicking here before Feb. 1. So signup now, and don’t miss this unprecedented opportunity to network with key players throughout the travel and tourism industry and stay on the leading edge of travel technology.

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    DHL Provides Discounts to CrossSphere Members

    Tired of paying ever-increasing bills on your overnight mail packages? CrossSphere corporate partner DHL can offer you some relief in the express mail department.

    By using DHL, which merged with Airborne in early 2004, CrossSphere members receive a full suite of domestic and international shipping services to more than 220 countries and territories around the globe. To learn more about the special rates, which can allow CrossSphere members to save up to 25 percent on Next Day, 2nd Day and Ground services, click here.

    You also can go to or call 800.MEMBERS (800.636.2377) between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. ET, with any questions on your account or the discounts DHL offers. This number is a dedicated hotline for the CrossSphere Corporate Partner Savings Program.

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    Clarification on Mailings to United Airlines

    With reinstitution of deposits, please make sure that when you are sending overnight express mail packages to United that you indicate the package is prepaid. There have been cases where envelopes are being rejected, and United’s Group Reservations Office has been asked to pay for delivery, which can slow things down in getting your deposits processed.

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    Don’t Forget to Update Your Company Profile

    Make sure your check you company’s information at by Jan. 31, in order for the information to be current in the CrossSphere Membership Directory.

    There are three ways you can update your profile:

  • Log on to (requires your ID and password)
  • E-mail updated information to
  • Fill out the form that was in your dues invoice and fax it to 859-226-4414.

    Thanks for your help in keeping your company profile current.

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    Advertise in the CrossSphere Membership Directory

    Don’t let this special pass you by! Reserve space in the 2005 CrossSphere Membership Directory before Jan. 31 and take advantage of great rates, click here.

    For added impact, choose to enhance your company’s listing with a bold/highlight or company logo (see sample in pdf – link listed above). What better way to get global exposure! Don’t forget that your Directory ad can be used with Courier for frequency discounts. Call Taryn Lendrum at 800.682.8886, ext. 3549 (U.S. and Canada), or 859.219.3549. You also can email her at for more information on this outstanding opportunity.

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