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Tuesday Newsletter

October 26, 2004

October 26, 2004: Volume 24, Issue 20

Articles at a Glance
Election Results are In Member Involvement Makes a Difference
United Airlines Program Changes Appointment Schedules Available at NTA Online
NTA Adds ACP Rail as Transportation Provider Proposals for 2005 Product Development Trips Sought
NTA to be Represented at World Travel Market Show The Nerve Center of Convention
Support the National Tourism Foundation at Convention An Award-Winning Month for NTA Members
Quick Hits from NTA Sales & Publishing Tuesday Takes a Break for Convention

Election Results are In

No, not for that election. We’re talking about the results of the races for director seats on NTA’s Board of Directors. Balloting was completed on Oct. 14 and the following candidates were successful in their respective elections:

Tour Operator Director

  • Peter Grunwaldt of Premier Alaska Tours
  • Michele Michalewicz, CTP, of Western Leisure, Inc.
  • Michael Neustadt of Coach Tours

    Tour Supplier Director

  • Scott Hartcorn of Shilo Inn Suites Hotels

    DMO Director

  • Wendy D. Kelman of the Maryland Office of Tourism Development

    This group of five will join the association’s leadership team for 2005 and each will serve a two-year term.

    Voting for the remaining NTA officer positions will wrap up at Annual Convention on Friday during the Tour Operator Annual Business Meeting. The remaining contested office is secretary and the two candidates are Bob Hoelscher, CTP, of Flemming Tours Inc. and Phil Otterson of Tauck World Discovery. To learn more about each of these candidates, read their profiles by clicking here.

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    Member Involvement Makes a Difference

    Ever forget, amidst your many day-to-day tasks, that your efforts do matter? Recently, a group of industry professionals got a refresher course on that subject as they banded together to fight a proposal in Pennsylvania that would strictly regulate the state’s travel agencies and tour operators.

    NTA members Bob Buesing, president of East Coast Touring Company/Trans & Tours in Easton, Pa., and Dale McClelland of Celebrate Pittsburgh and Beyond, were part of a nine-person amalgam that met with a pair of top officials from the Pennsylvania House Tourism and Recreational Development Committee – Rep. Robert Godshall and Allen R. Taylor. The group included seven Pennsylvania tour operators and travel agents and two representatives from the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA). The result of their discussions with Godshall and Taylor was a pledge by Godshall to seek a more equitable solution for the travel industry.

    "I much appreciate ASTA’s and NTA’s interest in these important issues affecting Pennsylvania consumers," said Godshall. "We do not seek to unduly burden any business operating in Pennsylvania, but I think it is very important that we come to grips with the causes of the losses that consumers here have suffered due to certain failures of service. I am determined to work with the travel industry to accomplish that goal and will lend my support to securing a detailed analysis of the complaints so we can move forward as appropriate."

    The bill, as originally written, would have required ID numbers and registration of travel retailers, bonding of non-exempted retailers for the full value of sales up to a maximum of $25,000 (to benefit travelers who don’t receive the products or services they paid for) and written disclosure of all terms and conditions of all components of tours or aggregations of travel services. Further, the bill would have created a long list of specific forbidden practices and imposed annual fees on travel retailers.

    Godshall held a hearing in May on the seller of travel legislation, at which Buesing and representatives of ASTA testified. Then, in September, the bill’s opponents submitted extensive comments and analysis on the draft legislation. Their response led to last week’s followup meeting with Godshall and Taylor.

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    United Airlines Program Changes

    NTA has been informed by United Airlines of changes in the longstanding United-NTA Program. On Oct. 8, United passed along the following updates:

  • The automatic 20 percent discount off published domestic fares for retail groups will be reduced to 10 percent
  • A per seat deposit on domestic retail group bookings will apply and will no longer be waived in its entirety
  • A per seat deposit on international retail group bookings will apply, and will no longer be waived by 50 percent

    Additionally, according to United, "fares may have to be increased/decreased through the year upon 30-days notice."

    United explained that the program elements that are changing "are no longer in line with our sales standards." Upon receipt of the United letter, NTA immediately and vigorously protested the changes, citing the fact that the current program was mutually agreed to in September 2003 for a two-year period.

    United’s legal argument for being able to make the changes are that "these discounts and waivers are not outlined in the agreement…" That statement is accurate, but the discounts and waivers were specifically outlined on three occasions – the first in a presentation made by United to NTA’s board of directors, then in a letter sent to NTA tour operators by United and finally during an NTA Tour Operator Spring Meet presentation by a United representative.

    After a series of recent phone calls and e-mails between NTA and United, the airline agreed to have its attorneys review the company’s ability to make the changes. Today NTA was informed that, after legal review, United was proceeding with the changes.

    "We have stressed to United that NTA agreed in good faith to a program and now major unilateral changes are being made," said NTA president Hank Phillips, CTP. "I sympathize with the extraordinary pressure United is under to maximize revenue. But it is very regrettable when financial pressure leads to decisions that can harm a longstanding and mutually beneficial relationship."

    Tour Operators with questions may e-mail Matt Grayson, or Todd Hamilton,, in NTA’s Government & Industry Relations Department. They also may contact United Airlines’ Group Desk at 800-426-1122.

    Any further developments will be reported via "This Just In" on the home page of NTA Online.

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    Appointment Schedules Available at NTA Online

    One of the main pieces to your Convention puzzle is now in place, as the online appointment system has prepared your Tour & Travel Exchange appointment schedules. Go to NTA Online, where all you’ll need to log in and download your schedule is your registration number.

    There are an average of 29 appointments scheduled for DMOs and 26.7 appointments for tour suppliers. Both of those numbers are higher than the 2003 totals and, in all, nearly 65,000 appointments have been set up for the 2004 NTA Convention.

    When you are looking over your appointment schedules, you’ll be able to take advantage of several enhancements to the Web site, including:

  • Schedules are available under the My Schedule Link on the left. Members can download them in three formats – a condensed schedule, booklet format and as a spreadsheet.
  • A My Target List link has been added. This shows delegates what companies you chose that we were unable to put on your schedule and what companies chose you but we were unable to put them on your schedule. It also gives delegates the option of doing further research and adding more companies to your target list. Delegates can add companies to the list through the Search link.
  • A map of the Convention Mall floor plan is available as a PDF.
  • A Print Labels link has been added to give delegates instructions on how to print out their own labels to bring with them to Convention. top of page

    NTA Adds ACP Rail as Transportation Provider

    NTA is pleased to announce an addition to the Transportation Provider Program, ACP Rail. The association’s Board of Directors approved the company as a Transportation Provider at its September meeting in Cancun. ACP Rail adds a new dimension to the NTA family, as it is the exclusive worldwide marketer of BritRail products, as well as Sweden Rail, Eurail, Norwegian Rail and others.

    "This gives NTA tour operators new business opportunities with major rail systems in Europe," says NTA President Hank Phillips, CTP. "This represents an important door NTA has opened as a part of our ongoing globalization process. We very much appreciate ACP Rail’s efforts and support, and we look forward to a long relationship with this excellent company."

    Specific details of the new partnership, which include discounts and commissions on rail passes and rail packages through ACP’s tour operator company, ACP Secret Holidays, are as follows:

  • FIT Nets (for those meeting the $15,000 threshold)
  • 25 percent discount on BritRail passes (minimum 10 or more paying)
  • 25 percent discount on BritRail Point to Point (minimum 10 or more paying)
  • 30 percent discount on Eurail Point to Point tickets (minimum six or more paying)
  • 15 to 20 percent discount on Norwegian Point to Point tickets (amount depends on season)
  • 25 percent discount on Swedish Point to Point tickets
  • Commissions on passes is 9 percent and on packages is 15 percent
  • Dedicated toll-free number NTA members can call to make reservations or for further information top of page

    Proposals for 2005 Product Development Trips Sought

    Ever thought of a destination you wished NTA sponsor a Product Development Trip to, or felt like you wanted to coordinate one? Well, now is your chance, as NTA is seeking proposals for 2005 Product Development Trips.

    The focus of the Product Development Trip program has changed for next year, as the association hopes to significantly increase the number of trips offered. In order to tie in with NTA’s Areas of Marketing and Interest (AIM) initiative, the 2005 trips should take into consideration five of the AIM categories – Active & Adventure Travel; Affinity & Custom Group Travel; Cultural & Life Enrichment Travel; Self-Guided & Independent Travel; and Student & Youth Travel. It is hoped that there will be at least one Product Development Trip for each of those AIM categories.

    Some basic guidelines regarding any Product Development Trip include:

  • Must be spearheaded by an NTA member and include support from the area DMOs
  • Can be domestic or international and are open to all NTA tour operators
  • Proposals should include the trip dates, an itinerary, a program outline and the cost per person and should be submitted to NTA six months before the trip’s suggested departure date
  • Itinerary typically would be for three to five days and offer general educational touring, as well as site inspections of hotels, restaurants and attractions
  • Host(s) should try to keep the trip affordable by seeking sponsorships and discounts for meals, lodging, transportation and local attractions
  • Must include a workshop for tour operators to meet with area suppliers/destinations

    For a full list of requirements, click here. To send in a proposal, or if you have further questions, contact Dawn Pettus, CTP, via e-mail at

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    NTA to be Represented at World Travel Market Show

    While much of the NTA effort lately has been focused on getting ready for its Annual Convention, the association will be sending representatives to the 2004 World Travel Market show, Nov. 8-11 in London.

    NTA’s Director of Industry and Government Relations Matt Grayson, and association leadership team member Ed Hall, CTP, will be in London to promote travel to North America, NTA tour operator receptive services and the association, in general. If you are heading to WTM, make sure to stop by NTA’s exhibit (stand # NA1100).

    Additionally, the association is involved with a pair of hospitality functions at WTM. On Monday, Nov. 8, the show’s first day, NTA will be playing host to a breakfast for its members. The following day, NTA will sponsor a happy hour at 4:30 p.m. for international tour operators.

    Members attending the show are encouraged to stop by with their international contacts as a way of introducing them to the association and showing them the benefits of being an NTA member.

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    The Nerve Center of Convention

    The Welcome & Information Center will again be your source for everything at NTA’s upcoming Annual Convention in Toronto. As the nerve center of Convention activity, it is a must on your list of places to visit if you have any questions about Convention or if you want to sit in on one of the seminars conducted there.

    The Welcome & Information Center, located near the registration area, is the starting point for tours of the Convention Mall. The Center also is the place for the Convention 101 presentations on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning, designed to give first-time Convention attendees a thorough overview. On Monday and Tuesday, the Center will host several seminars geared to provide you with information to enhance your business.

    Additionally, delegates can purchase Issues Luncheon tickets at the Welcome and Information Center – since the Government Relations booth also will be located there – or stop by to learn more about member benefit programs, the CTP program, Convention volunteer information, AIM program sign-ups and first-timers information.

    With all of that, and more happening at the Welcome & Information Center, be sure to take advantage of the great educational opportunities and all of the information available to you in this one central location.

    For more information on the Welcome & Information Center activities, please contact Jason Jones, NTA’s assistant director of education, at

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    Support the National Tourism Foundation at Convention

    There are many ways at the 2004 Annual Convention to help the Foundation in its mission to help provide scholarships, grants and educational programs for travel and tourism students. Delegates can give of their time or money, in the following ways:

  • Volunteer to help the Foundation staff its booth. For more information, click here.
  • Be a Tour & Travel Exchange Mentor, which involves allowing a student to sit in on your appointments. For more information, click here.
  • Lead a roundtable discussion with students on Pro/Am Day, which is Saturday, Nov. 13. For more information, click here.
  • Purchase tickets for Sunday’s Michigan Rocks and Rolls the Foundation. For more information, click here.
  • Bid on an item in one of the Foundation’s three auctions – the Silent Auction, the Live Auction and a new one, the Auction Finale (to be held during the Tuesday Luncheon). For more information on the auctions, click here.

    To find out more about how you can assist the National Tourism Foundation in Toronto, contact Jasmin Ritchie by calling 800-682-8886, ext. 4211 (U.S. and Canada), or 859-226-4211.

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    An Award-Winning Month for NTA Members

    There are many ways at the 2004 Annual Convention to help the Foundation in its mission to help provide scholarships, grants and educational programs for travel and tourism students. Delegates can give of their time or money, in the following ways:

    Many NTA members garnered top honors recently from three industry organizations.

    Six of the 14 Tourism Industry Association of Canada’s National Awards for Tourism Excellence, handed out at Canada’s Tourism Leadership Summit 2005, went to individuals or companies that are NTA members, including:

  • APR Media Ltd. Business of the Year Award, Multiple-Unit – Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
  • Loyalty Group Innovator of the Year Award – Capilano Suspension Bridge (North Vancouver, B.C.)
  • VIA Rail Canada Volunteer of the Year Award – Dr. Brent Ritchie (University of Calgary)
  • Where Magazine Marketing Campaign of the Year Award – Tourism PEI
  • CTHRC Award for Excellence in Human Resources Development, Multiple-Unit – Delta Hotels
  • Travel Press Lifetime Achievement Award – The Butchart Family, Butchart Gardens (Victoria, B.C.)

    At its recent meeting in Mont Tremblant, Quebec, the International Motor Coach Group selected Loren Jones, the president of the Northwest Iowa Transportation, as its 2004 Operator Leadership Award recipient and named Pamela Coleman-Huey, of The Louise Mandrell Theater in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., as its Supplier Leadership Award winner.

    Ruth Waters, the director of sales for the Harrison Group Hotels & Restaurants, earned the highest honor the state of Maryland bestows for tourism accomplishments, by winning its Tourism Person of the Year Award during the Governor’s Tourism Industry Conference.

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    Quick Hits from NTA Sales & Publishing


  • Stop by the NTA Sales & Publishing booth (#827) at Annual Convention to learn how you can win a three to five night cruise. The only requirement is that delegates must book one or more advertisements for 2005, so make sure to talk to your account executive during Convention to formulate your Ultimate Package advertising plan for 2005.
  • Time is winding down on the offer that allows you to book ad space for 2005 and receive the 2004 rate card prices. Call 800-682-8886, ext. 3549 (U.S. and Canada), or 859-219-3549 to book now.
  • It’s that time again. Renew your advertisement in the Tour Supplier/DMO Directory now and you’ll receive 2004 rate card protection prices. The revamped Directory has a shelf life of up to a one year and gets your name in front of numerous industry-wide professionals. To inquire about increasing your exposure by booking an enhanced listing, call the number listed in the previous paragraph top of page

    Tuesday Takes a Break for Convention

    Tuesday will deviate from its usual twice-a-month schedule due to NTA’s Annual Convention. There will be no issues in November and the next one will come out Dec. 7, to be followed by the year-end edition on Dec. 21.

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