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Tuesday Newsletter

December 7, 2004

December 7, 2004: Volume 24; Issue 21

Articles at a Glance
Association Announces New Brand at Annual Convention Business Was Booming at Annual Convention
Tourism Cares For Tomorrow is New Name of Consolidated Foundations Shepler Wins Bob Everidge Lifetime Achievement Award
CrossSphere Members Participate in Amber Alert Program Convention Quick Hitters
CrossSphere Participates in ".travel" Initiative Hofmann to Chair 2007 CrossSphere Annual Convention
Kelowna Awarded 2007 Spring Meet China is Site of Upcoming Product Development Trip
2005 Spring Meet is Coming Up Mark Your Calendar For the 2005 Grassroots Symposium
Membership Directory is Expanding Luebbehusen Joins CrossSphere Sales & Publishing Staff
CrossSphere Classifieds

Association Announces New Brand at Annual Convention

Ann Thomas, CTP, and Mitch Sussman, CTP, were part of the CrossSphere Brand Launch in Toronto.

The National Tour Association introduced its new brand to the membership at its Annual Convention last month. The brand includes a name change, and the association is now known as CrossSphere, the global association for packaged travel.

The brand builds on the association’s more than 50-year history as the premier place to do business and remains a community of members passionate about the growth and progression of their business, their association and their industry.

"CrossSphere is the opportunity for our members who have celebrated this association’s proud history, to make history," said the association’s Immediate Past Chairman Mitch Sussman, CTP. "It’s a reflection of our growing and diverse industry. By being a more inclusive association, we are achieving one of our fundamental goals, to maximize our members’ profitability."

The brand is the association’s latest effort to add value to its membership that represents 25 countries. As CrossSphere evolves with the trends of today’s packaged travel consumer, the association ensures it will continue to reflect its core values.

"We are building on our foundation of integrity, passion, caring and sense of family," said CrossSphere President Hank Phillips, CTP. "We are very excited about the benefits of this branding platform, and at the same time, we want to reassure our members that we will continue to provide the advocacy, education and networking benefits that are at the heart of our association."

Discussions about this topic had increased in recent years and, in January 2004, the Board of Directors decided to more actively evaluate the association’s brand presence. This led to a comprehensive branding study – with the goal of meeting the ever-changing needs of a growing and diverse global membership base.

The study was handled by Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell, an international branding, research and public relations firm based in Orlando, Fla. YPB&R conducted member and industry professional interviews, attended leadership meetings to gather input and made an assessment of NTA’s positioning in relation to other travel-related associations before helping the association finalize its new brand platform, which was announced in Toronto.

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Business Was Booming at Annual Convention

The Tour & Travel Exchange continues to be the heartbeat of the Convention.

While the new brand and name of the association garnered a lot of buzz in Toronto, it was a week of business as usual on the Convention Mall floor. Members spent the Tour & Travel Exchange swapping ideas, discussing packaging opportunities and finalizing deals, as more than 65,000 appointments took place.

From the newcomer to the veteran, delegates were pleased with what Convention offered them from both business and personal standpoints.

"I had great appointments this year, and it was a very fruitful Convention for me personally, as well as our company," said Kevin J. Wright, business development manager-religious travel for Globus & Cosmos in Littleton, Colo. "The takeaway for us is that we will see the benefit of cultivating the relationships – new and old – in the coming years as we expand our itineraries to more destinations, based on the people we talked to at Convention."

"I learned so much, and there are so many great ideas that I will take home and develop," said first-time attendee Matthew Zook, a sales representative with Soo Lock Boat Tours & Dinner Cruises in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. "Everything was very well planned, and it is not too complicated. Other members were really friendly, and I’ll definitely be back."

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Tourism Cares For Tomorrow is New Name
of Consolidated Foundations

The new name of the consolidated National Tourism Foundation and the Travelers Conservation Foundation – Tourism Cares For Tomorrow – was revealed last night at the USTOA Convention in Hollywood, Fla. The announcement follows the news of the consolidation, which came at the CrossSphere Convention in Toronto. Tourism Cares For Tomorrow will encompass the missions of both of its founding organizations and begins operation on Jan. 1, 2005.

"The tourism industry has been fortunate to have two outstanding foundations," said Bruce Beckham, CTP. "I am confident that Tourism Cares For Tomorrow will have a dramatically increased impact on conservation, preservation and education thanks to the leadership of the United States Tour Operators Association and CrossSphere."

Beckham, a former member of the boards of both of those associations, is the executive director of TCF and will hold that post with the new organization.

USTOA founded TCF in 1999. TCF’s mission was to work to preserve, conserve and promote responsible use of the world’s natural, cultural and historic treasures. TCF supported public awareness and conservation education programs and invests in globally significant projects though direct grants and funding partnerships.

CrossSphere established the National Tourism Foundation in 1984 to support travel industry education and research. Programs include an extensive scholarship program, internships and "Practitioners in the Classroom" initiatives.

The new foundation’s initial board of directors is equally balanced between the National Tourism Foundation and TCF boards. Additionally, CrossSphere President Hank Phillips, CTP, and USTOA President Bob Whitley will serve on the board.

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Shepler Wins Bob Everidge Lifetime Achievement Award

Bill Shepler received the 2004 Bob Everidge Award.

William R. Shepler was presented with the 2004 Bob Everidge Lifetime Achievement Award at the Gala Dinner on the final night of Annual Convention. This was the second time that the award – which recognizes individuals who have made outstanding, ongoing contributions to the association, its members and the industry as a whole – has been given.

"Being a part of this association means far more than just membership in a business organization," said Shepler, who is well known for his guidance and leadership as president of Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry/Courtyards of Mackinaw in Mackinaw City, Mich. "This association always has been, and continues to be, a valued friend to me. It provides enormous resources to not only further our group tour market, but to enhance our own business operations. But most of all, membership has allowed [my son] Chris and me to meet and establish lasting friendships with so many great people in the tour business."

Shepler has an extensive history with the association, as he was the chairman of the 1996 Annual Convention and has served on the Board of Directors and in other leadership capacities. On a local level, Shepler is a member of the board of directors for Circle Michigan Inc., Mackinaw City Chamber of Commerce and the Michigan State Chamber of Commerce.

"The award couldn’t go to a finer, more committed individual than Bill," said Immediate Past CrossSphere Chairman Mitch Sussman, CTP. "His energy and positive attitude should be an inspiration to all of us."

The Board of Directors established the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003 to honor the late Bob Everidge, owner and president of Shenandoah Tours Inc., in Staunton, Va., for his commitment to the association and the industry. Everidge, who died in 2001, served as president of the association in 1996.

A special thanks goes out to Corning Museum of Glass of Corning, N.Y., and Michael J. Hardy for donating the 2004 award, which is a star-shaped piece of Steuben crystal with a marble base.

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CrossSphere Members Participate in Amber Alert Program

Travel professionals can help save children’s lives through volunteering to participate in Code Amber, a program that was created in 1996 to assist in the search and safe return of missing and abducted children.

Amber, or America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response, is a voluntary partnership between law enforcement agencies and broadcasters to activate an urgent bulletin in the most serious child-abduction cases. Code Amber is the World Wide Web’s Amber Alert System that broadcasts to more than 190,000 Web sites and sends alert e-mails to a list of more than 10,000 subscribers.

"On many occasions, children and their abductors are found at hotels or on the road, which means that CrossSphere members could play a role in the safe return of a child," said CrossSphere Chairman Ann Thomas, CTP. "Together we can make a difference."

If an abduction is reported and the case meets specified guidelines, available information is put together for public distribution. CrossSphere members can be alerted by the Code Amber Ticker, or by banners and buttons on their Web site or desktop, or they may receive e-mail Amber Alerts when an alert is issued.

To get signed up for the program, click here.

CrossSphere would like to thank Bob Buesing of the East Coast Touring Company for suggesting the association’s involvement in this great program.

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Convention Quick Hitters

In addition to all you’ve just read about, there was a lot more that happened in Toronto. Here are a few more Convention-related tidbits:

  • There were a total of 2,943 participants in the 2004 Convention
  • When Bob Hoelscher, CTP, CTC, DS, MCC, was elected secretary of the CrossSphere Board of Directors at Annual Convention, it completed the slate of officers for 2005. Click here to see information on your 2005 Board of Directors.
  • The Areas of Interest and Marketing (AIM) Crackerbarrels were a hit. The AIM initiative provides professionals that have similar business interests with their own community, and the Crackerbarrels were a great vehicle to start the information sharing. There will be more AIM category roundtable discussions at the 2005 Tour Operator Spring Meet, to be held March 30-April 2 in Sacramento, Calif. To participate in the AIM program, click here.
  • The Technology Pavilion enjoyed a successful debut at Convention. The Pavilion brought the association’s technology members together to demonstrate their products and talk with delegates about their technological needs.
  • The deadline for your Convention evaluations is Dec. 17. Please take a few minutes to fill those out and return them by that date.
  • The Convention Seminar Collection CD, which includes PowerPoint presentations, handouts and links to audio recordings from every seminar offered during Convention, will be sent out in the few weeks. It also provides you with a downloadable delegate registry.
  • Don’t forget about the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rebate available for goods purchased and services provided in Canada. Visitors to Canada can apply for the rebate within 60 days of the purchase as long as they had their receipts validated by Canada Customs at the airport or border crossing when they left Convention. For more information, click here.

    A special thanks goes to the city of Toronto and all the sponsors and volunteers who helped make the 2004 Convention a success.

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    CrossSphere Participates in ".travel" Initiative

    CrossSphere is participating in a new technological venture – the creation of the ".travel" top-level Internet domain naming initiative. This industry-sponsored ".travel" domain is designed to serve the global travel and tourism community and is expected to launch in 2005.

    CrossSphere is a member of The Travel Partnership Corporation, a nonprofit organization who is sponsoring the domain along with Tralliance, a company that will manage the registry by providing infrastructure, technology and administrative support. As a member of The Travel Partnership Corporation, CrossSphere will assist in developing policy and handling informal domain name dispute resolution.

    "CrossSphere is proud to back Tralliance and the TTCP in this initiative," said CrossSphere President Hank Phillips, CTP. "The ‘.travel’ domain will help travel industry members strengthen their presence on the Internet and reinforce the partnership between tour operators, destinations, suppliers and the consumer."

    The domain using ".travel" is being established to improve Internet identity, increase adoption of online technology and enhance links between suppliers and their customers, leading to greater consumer confidence and increased e-commerce activity. Only legitimate buyers and sellers of travel or travel products can purchase ".travel" domain names, and association members wishing to obtain them will need to submit an authorization form to CrossSphere.

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    Hofmann to Chair 2007 CrossSphere Annual Convention

    Bob Hofmann of Broadway Inbound in New York, N.Y., will serve as chair of the 2007 CrossSphere Annual Convention scheduled for Nov. 2-6, 2007, in Kansas City, Mo.

    "I’m thrilled to be asked to serve in this capacity," Hofmann said. "Being in a leadership role at an event that offers the tremendous amount of business opportunities that Convention does is something I’ll be very proud to do."

    Hofmann, who has just completed a two-year term as the association’s tour supplier director, is recognized as one of the nation’s foremost marketers of live entertainment to the world travel industry. Hofmann helped build Theatre Direct International into one of New York’s top theatrical sales and marketing agencies. His new company, Broadway Inbound, was formed to forge the next level of partnership between the theatre and travel industries.

    "Bob is very eager to serve, and he is well known and respected throughout the industry," said CrossSphere Immediate Past Chairman Mitch Sussman, CTP, who appointed Hofmann to the Convention chair position. "His dynamic personality will create a spark of anticipation and enthusiasm for the exciting events that are sure to come in Kansas City."

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    Kelowna Awarded 2007 Spring Meet

    CrossSphere announced that Tourism Kelowna, located in British Columbia, has been awarded the 2007 Tour Operator Spring Meet.

    "We are certainly excited about showcasing Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley to the tour operators of CrossSphere," said Joan Niemeier, sales manager of Tourism Kelowna." Tourism Kelowna was pleased with the new bidding format, which allows smaller communities the opportunity to host the Spring Meet. We look forward to hosting in 2007."

    The Meet will take place April 26-28, 2007.

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    China is Site of Upcoming Product Development Trip

    The Great Wall of China

    There is still time to sign up for the upcoming CrossSphere Product Development Trip to the People’s Republic of China from Feb. 15-25, 2005. Space is reserved for full-time employees of CrossSphere tour operators, one participant per company, and the deadline to register is Dec. 24, 2004.

    Sponsored by TUI China, Air China, and Chang An Grand Hotel, the trip will take tour operators to many exciting locales including -Beijing, a capital city for 800 years; Shanghai, the largest city in Asia; Hangzhou, today’s capital of Zhejiang Province; Suzhou, nicknamed the "Venice of the East"; and the Grand Canal, the longest and the oldest manmade waterway in the world. Also featured is an evening workshop with Chinese suppliers and site inspections of different hotels.

    Cost of the all-inclusive, 11-day trip is $799 + tax ($902 total) and includes airfare from San Francisco, nine nights in luxury hotels, three meals daily with different cuisines and banquets, evening entertainment, all transportation within China and admission tickets to attractions.

    To see a detailed itinerary, or to register click here. Other questions should be directed to TUI China’s sales director Mark Kang at 415.990.3603 or at

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    2005 Spring Meet is Coming Up

    The 2005 Tour Operator Spring Meet, to be held March 30-April 2 in Sacramento, Calif., is quickly approaching. The Spring Meet will feature more partnering opportunities, breakout sessions for each of the Areas of Interest and Marketing (AIM) categories and another dose of quality educational programs.

    Members wishing to get the early bird rate of $180 must register for the Spring Meet by Jan. 14. The registration form can be found by clicking here. The signup forms for the pre- and post-Meet Fam Tours also are available online.

    There is even more incentive for tour operators to head to the Spring Meet in 2005, as Sacramento is offering a pair of hefty discounts. There is a Discover Gold Rebate of $1,000, available if you consult with the Sacramento CVB sales staff and book a tour including a minimum of 35 room nights in a Sacramento hotel to arrive by January 2007. The Prospector Rebate of $400 is available if you develop and market a tour itinerary of Sacramento that represents a minimum of 35 room nights in a Sacramento hotel to arrive by January 2007, even if you are unable to sell the tour. All you need to do is present a copy of the marketing piece to a Sacramento CVB sales staffer, along with an itinerary and an explanation of how it was marketed to qualify. For more information on these discounts, click here.

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    Mark Your Calendar For the 2005 Grassroots Symposium

    The dates for CrossSphere’s sixth annual Grassroots Symposium are set. The event will be held May 10-12 in Washington, D.C., and participants will have the opportunity to meet with elected officials and discuss issues affecting them, and the travel industry as a whole.

    Contact Todd Hamilton at 800-682-8886 ext. 4205 (U.S. and Canada), or 859-226-4205, or e-mail him at to sign up or get more information. As always, there is no registration fee for the symposium.

    More specific details on the 2005 Grassroots Symposium will be available in the coming weeks and will be publicized in future issues of Tuesday.

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    Membership Directory is Expanding

    In 2005, CrossSphere will print its most complete membership directory ever. The Tour Supplier/DMO Directory will no longer be a one-sided publication and is being expanded to include an alphabetical listing of tour operators.

    We want to put the tools in your hands for your most successful year yet and, in order for us to do so, we need you to update your company’s information. Watch your mail for a membership directory verification form, on which you can make your changes. Your completed verification is due by Jan. 31, 2005.

    Advertising opportunities in this comprehensive directory also are available. To learn more, call Taryn Lendrum at 800-682-8886, ext. 3549 (U.S. and Canada), or 859.219.3549.

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    Luebbehusen Joins CrossSphere Sales & Publishing Staff

    Ashley Luebbehusen recently became part of the CrossSphere Sales & Publishing team. She is the account executive for the Central Region for the Northern United States and Central Canada and, in addition to those responsibilities, will be promoting many aspects of CrossSphere including Courier,, event publications and the association’s Tour Supplier/DMO Directory.

    Luebbehusen graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in Recreation & Tourism Management. Before joining CrossSphere, she worked at the Holiday Inn and AAA. You can reach her at 800-682-8886, ext. 4273 (U.S. and Canada), or 859-226-4273, or contact her via e-mail at

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    CrossSphere Classifieds

    Trademark For Sale We own the Federal Service Mark for "Hub & Spoke Tours" and have decided to leave the travel business. So the Mark is for sale! This type of tour was developed to provide a more relaxing way to sightsee, spending several nights in one hotel and taking day trips out from there. The Hub & Spoke Tour minimizes unpacking & repacking and eliminates rushing from hotel to hotel. Contact company president Henry Kempf at 727-791-4512, or e-mail or write to 2954 Mayfair Court in Clearwater, FL 33761.

    Position Available – Director, Ottumwa Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Will promote the Ottumwa, Iowa area for recreation, conventions, trade shows, casual and business travel. Responsible for annual program budget, marketing/operating plan, publications, advertising, promotion of local events. Some travel required. Applicants need strong communication and computer skills and experience managing volunteers/projects. Prefer experience 3-5 years CVB/Tourism, marketing and working with board of directors. BA or equivalent experience required. Send cover letter, resume, salary history and references to Search Committee, P.O. Box 1673, Ottumwa, IA 52501 or e-mail

    If you have a listing to post in the CrossSphere Classified section of Tuesday, please e-mail CrossSphere Communications Specialist Pat Henderson. The cost is $1 per word for CrossSphere members and $1.50 per word for nonmembers. The association will send an invoice upon publication of the posting.

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