May 25, 2004
May 25, 2004: Volume 24; Issue 10
It is indeed a picture of recovery. For the first time since early 2001, NTA tour operators are showing consistent positive growth in their total sales volume. According the NTA April Member Needs Survey, 58 percent of tour operators said their overall sales volume during the first quarter of 2004 was greater than the first quarter of 2003. Nineteen percent said it was the same and only 23 percent said it was less than the first quarter of 2003.
|According to NTA research, tour operators are beginning to see an increase in their overall sales volume. This graph illustrates the percentage of operators stating their sales volume increased over the same quarter of the previous year.|
Just nine months ago, during the third quarter of 2003, tour operators weren’t so optimistic. Only 26 percent of tour operators reported their sales volume for that quarter was greater than 2002. However, that number rose to 41 percent for the fourth quarter of 2003, a trend that continued in the first quarter of 2004.
DMOs and tour suppliers also had a good first quarter. More than half (51 percent) of the DMOs surveyed said the number of visitors to their area during the first quarter of 2004 was greater than the same quarter of 2003. More than one-third (36 percent) said it was the same and only 13 percent said it was less.
Additionally, 57 percent of tour suppliers said the number of customers they had during the first quarter of 2004 was greater than the first quarter of 2003. Twenty-one percent said it was the same and 22 percent said it was less than the first quarter of 2003.
When looking ahead to the second quarter of 2004, NTA members continue to be optimistic. Sixty percent of the tour operators responding to the survey said they expect their sales volume during the second quarter of 2004 to be greater than the same quarter in 2003.
Three-quarters (75 percent) of DMOs expect the number of visitors to their area to be greater in the second quarter of 2004 than it was during 2003 and two-thirds (65 percent) of tour suppliers expect their number of customers to be greater in the second quarter.
Overall, this travel trend is a positive sign for all members of NTA and the industry as a whole. Watch for future Member Needs Surveys as NTA will monitor the trend throughout 2004.
For more research on this and other topics, visit the research section of NTA Online.
Congratulations to Roger Brashears Jr. from the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg, Tenn., who recently won a $50 Amazon.com gift certificate!
Brashears was automatically entered into the drawing after submitting his 2004 NTA April Members Needs Survey.
Remember to complete future NTA Member Needs Surveys so you, too, can have the chance to will a $50 Amazon.com gift certificate.
Ready to reserve your spot at this year’s Ultimate Package?
Registration brochures for the NTA 2004 Annual Convention (Nov. 12-16 in Toronto) will be mailed the week of May 31 and online registration will open at Noon Eastern time, June 8.
Be sure to respond promptly to save big! Registering by the early bird deadline of June 25 means that tour operators can knock $100 (U.S.) off their already low $310 registration fee, as well as be eligible for the full tour operator rebate of $650!
And for tour suppliers and DMOs, Convention registration is $1,050 (U.S.). Registering by June 25 means eligibility for pre-scheduled appointments in the all-inclusive Tour & Travel Exchange.
NTA is the industry leader when it comes to innovative business opportunities. Last year’s Convention led the way with the introduction of the all-member access, all-inclusive Tour & Travel Exchange. And, with a diverse base of domestic and international sellers and buyers that include tour operators focusing on group tours, FITs, adventure, cultural and student travel, NTA’s Convention is the place you want to be to do business.
One Industry. One Association. One Marketplace.
With the June 1 deadline for board candidates to be considered by the Nominating Committee right around the corner, now is the time to submit your nominations.
Once the deadline arrives, the Nominating Committee will consider all interest forms submitted and begin learning about potential candidates through written profiles, questionnaires and personal interviews. The committee then will formally nominate the individuals they feel deserve their recommendation.
Those receiving a nomination will be announced to the full membership in early July via Tuesday.
There are two ways to qualify to run for the NTA board. One way is to have served two years as a member of an NTA committee, council, task force or related board of directors.
The other way is to meet three of the following five criteria:
If you have any questions or wish to obtain a form, contact Janna Clark at email@example.com.
NTA members will soon have access to a new business resource.
Through NTA’s new Areas of Interest and Marketing (AIM) – launch date June 14 – members will be able to enjoy a wide variety of useful industry resources that pertain to specific special interests within the travel industry.
Resources accessible through NTA Online will include: product-specific articles, as well as links to outside news; links to, and information on, other associations and groups that pertain to each special interest; product-specific research; educational seminar audio files; discussion folders on member forums and more.
The program is designed to provide members with information tailored to their interests through e-mail, Web forums, Webcasts, conference calls, special meetings at NTA’s 2004 Annual Convention in Toronto and through sections devoted to each category in Tuesday and Courier.
NTA recently developed the AIM program to help members connect and focus on specific common interests. By belonging to one or more of six areas (cultural/life enrichment travel, active/adventure travel, self-guided/independent travel, student travel, affinity/custom group travel and receptive services), members can work on issues related to their specific interests and benefit from other members’ experiences and expertise.
Stay tuned for details on how to sign up for the AIM program.
During its May meeting and annual strategic planning session, the NTA Board of Directors focused on the association’s priorities of growing and diversifying the membership and developing programs that will continue to build on the value of NTA membership.
Among the Board’s actions, it approved:
- A branding initiative – As the association continues to grow its overseas membership and further diversify the member base, it’s important that NTA have a solid brand identity in the industry, which means examining how NTA is currently perceived and how the association wants to be perceived in the future to attain its goals. NTA has secured YPB&R, a market research and PR firm also known for its National Travel Monitor, to take the association through a comprehensive assessment of NTA’s brand, corporate identity and market positioning. We will keep you updated as the process unfolds.
- Tour Operator Spring Meet Changes – From delegate evaluations and crackerbarrel comments, NTA has heard that tour operators liked the more casual networking opportunities of the former NTA Tour Operator Retreat. NTA is making plans to return to this style of setup. The first steps, to be taken with the 2005 Spring Meet in Sacramento, include switching to casual attire for the event and discontinuing the Partnering Session.
- Creation of North American Product Development Trips – For the past three years the association has successfully offered Product Development Trips to overseas destinations and, following a suggestion by the NTA Leadership Team, guidelines were developed for North American trips, which would also be promoted by NTA through its member communications. A future issue of Tuesday will carry full details.
The Board also discussed an invitation from Cuban tourism officials to visit the island following its September meeting in Cancun. Cuban officials have invited members of the Board for a fully hosted trip to learn about their industry and market and meet industry officials. Board members who decide to take this opportunity will cover their individual expenses to get from Cancun to Cuba and, once on Cuban soil, Cuban tourism companies will cover all expenses. However, the U.S. government recently announced possible policy changes that would eliminate the concept of fully hosted travel to Cuba. Therefore, NTA is awaiting a decision on these policy changes. For further information, see the "United States Expected To Tighten Cuban Travel Regulations" article below.
Finally, the Board is considering technology solutions for members that would give tour operators avenues for using Web technology to market and distribute packages, as well as partner with DMOs. Requests for proposals will be sent to NTA technology-related associate members and outside companies.
The Board held its May meeting and strategic planning session in Montréal and extends many thanks to the following NTA friends for making the meeting possible: Autocars Murray Hill, Canadian Tourism Commission, Delta Hotel Centre-Ville, Fairmont Queen Elizabeth, Fairmont Hotels – Eastern Canadian Region, Quebec Bus Owners Association, Société des Casinos du Québec, Team Canada, Tourism Montréal and Tourism Québec.
Are you looking for employees? The National Tourism Foundation can help. Its newly renovated Web site, http://www.ntfonline.org/, offers you the opportunity to post job and internship openings free of charge and even browse resumes.
Within the Professionals section, you will find links marked Post Your Internship and Post Your Job Opening. Just complete the forms to add your information to the online databases. Potential employees will be able to search by a variety of criteria, including company name, business type and location. In addition, internships can be searched by date of availability and users can choose to view only paid internships. You can also provide a date for all records. Dated records will not be visible after they expire, so it will not be necessary for you to monitor the record after it has been posted.
The site also gives you access to resumes for the most recent list of recipients of Foundation scholarships, grants and awards. These students were selected on the basis of academic achievement, community involvement, work experience and university recommendation. Currently, more than a dozen talented individuals are represented. New resumes will be available each year in the fall.
If you have questions on these or other features of the National Tourism Foundation Web site contact us at 800-682-8886 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a special offer or deal that you’d like to get in front of the entire NTA membership?
For a minimal charge your company can now post a special offer (of 25 words or less), along with your logo and appropriate contact e-mail address. Your message will appear in this new section of NTA Online.
Monthly and annual contracts are available for this new exposure opportunity. Please visit us at Specials to see a sample. Banner ads and hotlinks are also available.
For information on any of these opportunities, please contact Taryn Lendrum at email@example.com or at 800-682-8886, ext. 3549.
An attempt to pass a sellers of travel law in Pennsylvania has been squelched, with the help of NTA member Bob Buesing, East Coast Touring Co.
NTA submitted testimony to a hearing on the legislation and Buesing, winner of the 1999 Grassroots Action Network Bulldog of the Year Award, presented oral testimony questioning many provisions of the bill (HB 169) as being unenforceable by the state and burdensome to tour operators.
Among the provisions to which NTA voiced objection were the requirement of any company, whether based in Pennsylvania or not, to be registered as a seller of travel in Pennsylvania if they are "directly or indirectly involved in the sale of travel." Given the many businesses and industries are indirectly involved in the sale of travel, this is unenforceable. In addition, sellers of travel would have to obtain a bond corresponding to 10 percent of the previous year’s gross sales, which is exorbitant and virtually unobtainable.
Legislators in Pennsylvania, led by Rep. Bob Godshall, are expected to draft another seller of travel bill to replace the failed HB 169. NTA will watch this situation closely and activate Pennsylvania GANNERS when needed.
On May 1, the Commission for Assistance for a Free Cuba (appointed by Pres. Bush on Oct. 10, 2003, to study U.S.-Cuba policy) issued a report to President Bush. Among the many recommendations in the 458-page report is one that, if adopted, would eliminate the concept of fully hosted travel. NTA staff and several tour operators participated in a fully hosted visit to Havana on Oct. 19, 2003, and plans were being made for an NTA board trip to Havana in September.
On page 71 of the report, the Commission recommends that the President "Eliminate the concept of fully hosted travel and require that all Cuba travel-related transactions be licensed under general or specific license, regardless of whether or not the U.S. traveler or another person subject to U.S. jurisdiction is directly involved in, or pays for, the transaction."
The Board visit to Cuba would be a fully hosted visit underwritten by various tourism-related companies in Cuba. Should this recommendation be adopted, the Board visit would not be possible.
Staff is currently working alongside other entities with an interest in Cuba to determine what steps the President could take to eliminate fully hosted travel. There is some debate as to whether or not the President could issue an Executive Order to eliminate hosted travel or whether legislation would be required. In either case, NTA will monitor the situation closely.
Crediting a surge in consumer travel and travel planning, the Travel Industry Association of America has predicted a 6 percent increase in travel over 2003.
Though certain cities have posted increases and topped pre-Sept. 11, 2001, numbers, Florida’s No. 1 industry has not been exempt from a nationwide, three-year industry slowdown.
Experts speaking at a travel and tourism industry symposium at Universal Orlando forecast 2004 total travel spending at $585 billion, up $33 billion from 2003. They also spoke of the strongest growth in years in everything from hotel bookings to consumer spending on travel packages.
"We’re seeing strong worldwide demand for our theme park and resort offerings," said Tom Williams, Universal Parks & Resorts chairman. "In particular, attendance at our domestic parks is up 15 percent over last year." (Source: Jacksonville Business Journal, May 20, 2004)
The 2004 NTA Annual Convention is your Ultimate Package when it comes to educational opportunities. One of the most exciting of these opportunities is the chance to attend two seminars presented by NTA member favorite Marc Mancini. If you saw Mancini at the Spring Meet in Little Rock, you know these are sessions not to be missed!
In this hilarious presentation, called "Freud on Tour: An Exploration of Tour Psychology," Mancini will explore the reasons group tours behave so strangely and examine such concepts as the flock factor, sibling rivalry and the regression syndrome. If you want to learn more about how to better serve group travelers, this is the session for you.
Mancini will then follow up that presentation with the session, "Learning from Las Vegas." In this offbeat seminar, you will discover what tigers, volcanoes, a virtual Venice and an all-suite hotel can teach you about some of the cleverest sales and marketing ideas on the planet. These are all tactics you can apply to your own business.
Mancini’s seminars are just two of the many outstanding educational sessions available at the NTA Convention. For more information on the Toronto educational program, go to NTA Online or e-mail Jason Jones, NTA’s assistant director of education, at firstname.lastname@example.org.