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Tuesday Newsletter

March 23, 2004

March 23, 2004: Volume 24; Issue 6

Articles at a Glance
Convention Changes Promise Enhanced Business Opportunities Market UK and Discover Scotland Fam a Success
NTA Salutes 2004 Spring Meet Sponsors Invest in Your Future – Renew Your NTA Membership Today
NTA is Your Business Partner at Pow Wow Members Urged to Support New Jersey Tax Bill
Reserve Your Tickets for 2004 Hall of Fame Dinner NTA Sends Condolence Letter to Spain Tourist Office
Don’t Miss Government Relations Silent Auction TIA Seeks Video of National Parks Activities
National Tourism Foundation Announces Tauck Scholars Program NikoNET Corporate Partnership Terminated
Looking Ahead to Future Couriers WTO: European Union’s Expansion Offers New Tourism Opportunities
Check Out New Applicants, Members

Convention Changes Promise Enhanced Business Opportunities

Tour supplier appointments during the Tour & Travel Exchange will be consolidated into three of four sessions at this year’s Convention, leaving one full session free for tour suppliers to volunteer, attend educational seminars or network.

More and better business opportunities are in store for you at the 2004 NTA Annual Convention in Toronto.

Last year’s Convention offered an open Tour & Travel Exchange format allowing for unlimited buying and selling, as well as more all-member meals and other networking opportunities. The 2004 Convention will build on those successful enhancements and give you even more of what you need to conduct business effectively.

Here are a few of the key changes you have to look forward to in Toronto:

  • Parts of the traditional Sunday and Monday schedules have been switched, allowing DMOs more time to prepare leads and to hold caucuses if desired. Sightseeing tours will be offered Sunday afternoon. The Dine-Around, which traditionally has been held Sunday night, will be on Monday night so that more downtown restaurants can participate. This change will also allow members plenty of time to enjoy Dine-Around without rushing to attend the Rock the Foundation event, which will keep its traditional Sunday evening spot.


  • Tour supplier appointments will be pre-scheduled in three of four Tour & Travel Exchange sessions, leaving one full session free for each tour supplier to volunteer, attend educational seminars or conduct impromptu business meetings. This change will alleviate lengthy periods in between appointments. The open session may also be used to schedule additional appointments if desired.


  • Appointment scheduling – the time period before an Exchange that is designated for making additional appointments – will take place in one, hour-long combined session for both DMOs and tour suppliers. The session, which will be prior to the DMO Exchange on Saturday morning, will ensure equal opportunities for DMOs and tour suppliers to schedule additional appointments on site.


  • Members will be able to print appointment schedules in different formats and will be able to print appointment labels.


  • Pre-Convention Fams will start and end a day earlier this year so that participants won’t miss educational sessions and networking opportunities on Friday. Tours will begin on Monday, Nov. 8 and end on Thursday, Nov. 11.

    "I think the changes we’ve made address a lot of the concerns members had about last year’s Convention, and I think what we’ve done will make a real difference in enhancing the ability of all members to be able to buy and sell," said Keith Griffall, CTP, Convention Committee chair.

    NTA listens to you. Make plans now to attend the 2004 Annual Convention Nov. 12-16 and see your suggestions put into action.

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    Market UK and Discover Scotland Fam a Success

    Jessica Baumgard (left) with Ed-Ventures Inc. of Rochester, Minn., Phil Azzolino (right) with Group Tours Inc. of Westwood, N.J., and a guide explore Jarlsof, an ancient settlement on the Shetland Islands in Scotland.

    Nearly 20 NTA tour operators got great new itinerary and product development ideas and made lasting memories on the Market UK and Discover Scotland Fam March 2-9. Participants also had the opportunity to attend workshops in which they could meet and plan with additional suppliers from across the United Kingdom.

    The Fam, sponsored by NTA members VisitBritain and Discover Scotland, kicked off in Birmingham, England where tour operators attended the British Travel Trade Fair. In addition to access to the hundreds of suppliers at BTTF, Visit Britain also arranged a smaller, more one-on-one workshop with selected British suppliers that morning.

    After a day of hard work, the group set off on their four-day Fam tour of Scotland. A quick flight from Birmingham to Glasgow, Scotland was followed by a brunch and then it was off to the races.

    Visit Scotland arranged four different itineraries – Castles and Gardens, Luxury Spa and Golf, Scotland’s Heritage and Scotland’s Island Adventure – each offering a unique view of Scotland and all it has to offer. Tour operators slept and dined in castles, played with Shetland ponies and teed up the golf ball at St. Andrews. The four groups came back together for a ghost walk and dinner in underground Edinburgh, and shared stories of fine hotels, outstanding food, new product ideas and their many adventures.

    The trip was capped with a one-day workshop with Scottish suppliers and a gala dinner at Edinburgh Castle. Ideas were flowing, and the excitement from both the tour operators and the suppliers was noticeable.

    The dinner was one to remember. The men donned kilts and the women wore tartan sashes, and the group was greeted at the castle by bagpipers and actors depicting royalty. The evening was a fitting end to an outstanding week of work, fun and friendship.

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    NTA Salutes 2004 Spring Meet Sponsors

    NTA appreciates the generosity of the following 2004 Tour Operator Spring Meet sponsors who will make their own brand of magic happen March 24-27 in Little Rock, Ark. The dedication and support of these sponsors helps promote growth and success of the tour and travel industry and NTA:

    Alaska’s Marine Highway; Anchorage CVB; Greater Birmingham CVB; Boise CVB; Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre West;; The Carolina Opry; Cendant Hotel Group; Des Moines CVB; Discover New Mexico; Disney Theatrical Productions, Ltd.;

    Embassy Suites & Hampton Inns of Charleston; Experience Columbus; Gettysburg Village Factory Stores; Graceland; Grand Casinos of Mississippi; Great Platte River Road Archway Monument; Hilton Hotels Corporation; Idaho Division of Tourism; Lexington CVB; Lighthouse Tours & Receptive Services; Little Rock CVB;

    Louisville CVB; Marriott International; Maryland Office of Tourism; Mears Transportation Group; Memphis CVB; Mesa CVB; The Mills; Mississippi Delta Tourism Association; Mississippi Development Authority Tourism Division; Mississippi Gulf Coast CVB;

    Montana Tourism Division; Myrtle Beach Area Convention Bureau; Nashville CVB; Nebraska Tourism; Nova Scotia Department of Tourism & Culture; Oklahoma City CVB; Philadelphia CVB; Greater Pittsburgh CVB; Prime Retail, L.P.; Rhode Island Tourism Division;

    Sacramento CVB; Salt Lake CVB; San Antonio CVB; Scottsdale CVB; Seattle’s CVB; ; South Carolina Department of Parks Recreation & Tourism; Spirit Cruises; Team Canada; Tennessee Department of Tourist Development;

    Theatre Direct; Tourism Charlevoix; Tourism Kelowna; Tourism Victoria; Tulsa CVB; Tunica CVB; Visit Charlotte; West Virginia Tourism; Youngstown/Mahoning County CVB

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    Invest in Your Future – Renew Your NTA Membership Today

    Tour operators, don’t let April 30 go by without renewing your NTA membership.

    In this time of industry recovery and constant change, the benefits of NTA membership are more valuable than ever. Tools that NTA members everywhere have found vital to their ongoing, successful business plans include unprecedented networking and business opportunities, access to progressive research and education, government advocacy and ongoing marketing and financial assistance.

    Many members also enjoy the benefits of NTA’s Corporate Partners. The Berkely Group, for instance, not only offers significantly reduced rates on insurance, but also a variety of important, cutting-edge coverage options.

    "The Berkely programs have been a great asset to my business," said Blair Soucy, president of NTA member Getaway Tours, Terryville, Conn. "We find that Berkely handles claims fast and fair. My customers have been very happy with this product and it’s an easy sell. I can honestly say that I won’t have to worry about insurance issues knowing that I have Berkely as my partner."

    "All I can say of our relationship with the Berkely Tour Travel Protection Plan is good! More than good, actually … excellent!" agreed Judy Spencer, CTP, owner and president of Brevard, N.C.-based Spencer Tours. "They have been so responsive to our needs and are always willing to bend when the situation demands it."

    Other Corporate Partners offering tremendous savings and packages exclusive to NTA include Airborne Express (overnight delivery service), ITS Design & Printing (design and printing needs), Lightyear Communications (long-distance and prepaid calling services) and Paymentech (credit card processing).

    Don’t let the most important investment in the packaged travel industry pass you by. Click here now to complete your membership renewal form and register your payment. Contact NTA’s Member Services team with any questions at 800-682-8886 (U.S. & Canada) or 859-226-4444, or via e-mail at

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    NTA is Your Business Partner at Pow Wow

    Headed to the Travel Industry Association of America’s International Pow Wow 2004? NTA is an invaluable resource and can be utilized as your international business partner at this major event.

    Make the most of your Pow Wow attendance by stopping by NTA’s booth (1200, 1202) to learn more about international marketing opportunities and ways that NTA can enhance your selling efforts. Here’s some NTA-related Pow Wow information you need to know:


  • NTA Chairman Mitch Sussman, CTP, Vice President of Marketing and Communications Catherine Prather, and Director of Marketing Jennifer Allen will represent NTA at Pow Wow.
  • NTA representatives will deliver information packets to the booths of all exhibiting members Sunday, April 25. The packets will include the 2004 edition of NTA’s Tour Operator Receptive Services in North America directory, a list of exhibiting members and their booth numbers, a hometown press release, a Courier promotional offer and a member ribbon. Member table signs also will be left in each booth to promote your affiliation with NTA to all international tour operators.
  • If you are exhibiting at Pow Wow 2004, click here to make sure you are on NTA’s list of exhibitors. If you don’t see your company, e-mail Jennifer Allen at with your company name and booth number. top of page

    Members Urged to Support New Jersey Tax Bill

    New Jersey Assembly Bill A 2489, introduced by Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew, would eliminate the imposition of the corporate business tax on certain foreign (out-of-state) corporations carrying passengers into and out of New Jersey.

    For more than three years, motorcoach companies and tour operators have received tax notices from the state of New Jersey that made them responsible for tax on the portion of motorcoach trips conducted in New Jersey. This tax particularly impacted tour operators running trips to Atlantic City.

    In 2002, NTA, the American Bus Association and the Atlantic City Bus Owners Association agreed to finance an effort to exempt tour operators and motorcoach companies from the foreign corporation tax. This effort led to A2489, which was introduced in the New Jersey Assembly and referred to the Committee on Tourism and Gaming.

    NTA’s Grassroots Action Network members have contacted Van Drew’s office to express support for the bill upon introduction and efforts will be made to communicate NTA’s support to the committee. If you would like to extend your support to Van Drew, click here.

    For more information on this legislation and how you can get involved, contact NTA Government Relations at 800-682-8886, ext. 4205.

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    Reserve Your Tickets for 2004 Hall of Fame Dinner

    Invitations will be mailed this week for the 2004 National Tourism Foundation Hall of Fame Dinner honoring Bill La Macchia. The induction ceremony will take place June 10 at the Westin Chicago River North in Chicago.

    La Macchia is founder and president of The Mark Travel Corporation, the Milwaukee-based parent company of Funjet Vacations, MGM Mirage Vacations and other well-known vacation companies.

    The 2004 Hall of Fame Dinner is sponsored by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., and several Chicago properties are offering reduced rates until May 20. For information on tickets, hotels or corporate sponsorship opportunities, call the Foundation at 800-682-8886 or click here.

    For information about La Macchia’s distinguished career, click here.

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    NTA Sends Condolence Letter to Spain Tourist Office

    In response to the March 11 terrorist train bombings in Madrid, NTA sent the following letter of condolence to the Tourist Office of Spain, a new DMO member of NTA:

    March 12, 2004

    Mr. Alvaro Renedo
    Tourist Office of Spain
    666 5th Avenue
    New York, NY 10103

    Dear Mr. Renedo,

    On behalf of the National Tour Association, I am writing to express my sincere sorrow for the March 11 terrorist attacks in Madrid. Our thoughts and our prayers are with you, your colleagues, and your friends and family both here and in Spain.

    Our industry creates opportunities for people to experience the unique differences in the world’s cultures and customs, and we strive to build an understanding of these differences. We are reliant on peace, and events such as these rock this foundation.

    We give you our support, and please let us know if we can provide any assistance.


    Hank Phillips, CTP
    National Tour Association

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    Don’t Miss Government Relations Silent Auction

    If you’re headed for Tour Operator Spring Meet in Little Rock, make a note to stop by the Issues Booth and check out the great packages available in the Government Relations Committee Silent Auction.

    Sponsored by the Alaska Marine Highway System, the Issues Booth will feature packages to Colorado, Palm Springs, Calif., Charleston, S.C., among many others. There will also be a Spirit Cruise package for a group that will be extremely useful for one lucky tour operator.

    The Clinton Library has donated a great prize: a collection of speeches that are personally autographed by the former president.

    Proceeds from the auction benefit the Government Issues Fund and TourPAC. Remember to bid early and often.

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    TIA Seeks Video of National Parks Activities

    NTA members are invited to submit video of activities at U.S. national parks for possible use in a nationwide consumer public relations blitz as part of the See America’s National Parks campaign.

    The blitz is set for April 19-25, National Parks Week, and the Travel Industry Association of America is planning a satellite distribution of B-roll that includes video of activities at national parks in order to generate television stories across the nation.

    If you would like to submit video, TIA needs one Beta tape and one VHS tape by Friday, April 2. Video should reflect the wide range of activities and experiences that are available in U.S. park units, both rural and urban, preferably showing people engaged in these activities.

    Send your tapes to Cathy Keefe, Manager of Media Relations, Travel Industry Association of America, 1100 New York Avenue, NW Suite 450, Washington D.C. 20005-3934. You may contact Keefe at 202-408-2138 or at

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    National Tourism Foundation Announces Tauck Scholars Program

    The National Tourism Foundation is pleased to announce that four travel and tourism students will soon be recognized as Tauck Scholars, an honor named for respected travel industry leader and Foundation Hall of Fame Inductee Arthur C. Tauck Jr.

    The Tauck Scholars fund was created last May to mark the Hall of Fame induction of Tauck, chairman of the board of Tauck World Discovery and Tauck Holdings Inc. Tauck’s family and business associates donated $12,000 to the Foundation to establish a group of scholarships, and the funds will be distributed this summer in four awards bearing his name.

    Each Tauck Scholar will receive a two-year scholarship totaling $3,000 to help them continue their undergraduate education. Recipients will be awarded $1,500 per year in 2004 and 2005, providing they maintain the initial qualifying criteria relevant to field of study and grade point average.

    To be eligible for this honor, students must be strong academic achievers with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale. They must also be entering the sophomore or junior year of study at an accredited college or university with a degree emphasis in a travel-and-tourism-related field. Applicants will be required to submit a brief essay, two letters of recommendation and other supporting materials. Applications must be received by May 10.

    Click here to visit the Foundation’s Web site for additional details.

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    NikoNET Corporate Partnership Terminated

    NTA’s Corporate Partner relationship with NikoNET was terminated effective March 10, 2004. For NTA members who use NikoNET services, this termination means that any discounts or special services you received under the Corporate Partner program are no longer effective.

    NTA is pursuing another provider for mass communications services to participate in the Corporate Partner program. Please forward any recommendations to Karla DiNardo at or at 800-682-8886, ext. 4232.

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    Looking Ahead to Future Couriers

    "Creating a working together environment always brings common goals into better focus and leads to greater productivity and, ultimately, to greater revenues and profits."

    This quote from David Kaufman, CTP, president of Vermont Tourism Network, gives you a taste of the exciting business section in the April Courier, soon to arrive in your mailbox.

    You won’t want to miss Kaufman’s six-point formula for working together in Travel Essentials or the bold editorial about industry alliances in One Member’s Perspective by Mikie Wall, CTP, director of sales and trade development for the North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development.

    It’s also time to book your ad in these upcoming issues of Courier.:

    June – Business: International Travel. Features: Zoos and Aquariums and Gulf Coast Regional Review. Travel Guides: Maryland/D.C., Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Space deadline: April 1.

    July – Business: Cultural/Life Enrichment Travel. Features: Native American Product, Beaches and Switzerland. Travel Guide: Eastern Canada, including Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland. Space deadline: April 29.

    August – Business: Active/Adventure Travel. Features: Theatres and New England Regional Review. Travel Guides: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Space deadline: May 28.

    To secure your spot in these upcoming issues, contact Kelley Burchell at or at 800-682-8886, ext. 4241.

    Don’t be a stranger … this is your magazine. Let us hear your ideas and suggestions. Write to

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    WTO: European Union’s Expansion Offers New Tourism Possibilities

    Ten new members of the European Union set to come on board in May offer "great hopes in tourism," says World Tourism Organization Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli.

    Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Malta and Cyprus will join the EU May 1. WTO foresees good prospects for the leading cultural cities of Central Europe, such as Prague, Budapest, Krakow and Ljubljana, which will become even more popular with international visitors, especially for short breaks.

    "The new countries are not just destinations, but tourism-generating markets as well," said Frangialli.

    The new countries will join the existing 15 EU member countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom.

    The EU is a treaty-based, institutional framework that defines and manages economic and political cooperation among its member countries. Structural funds from the EU, for aiding rural areas or the conversion of former industrial regions, have helped existing members, particular in southern Europe where monument have been renovated, new infrastructure built and programs carried out to upgrade cultural assets.

    To read more about the WTO’s views on the upcoming EU expansion, click here.

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    Check Out New Applicants, Members

    NTA is working hard to increase business opportunities for its existing members by growing the association’s membership base. Click here to see a list of new tour operator membership applicants, and click here to check out the most recent list of new members encompassing all membership categories.

    These lists can always be found on NTA Online under "Member Benefits."

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