March 9, 2004
March 9, 2004: Volume 24; Issue 5
|J.P. Dansereau with Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn., NTA Chairman Mitch Sussman, CTP, and Ed Dresel, CTP, with Destinations Unlimited Inc. in Southington, Conn., meet with an aide for Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd during NTA’s Grassroots Symposium.|
More than 30 NTA members participated in the 5th Annual Grassroots Symposium, held Feb. 23-25 at the Sheraton Four Points in Washington, D.C.
Participants were able to discuss security issues with Tim Goeglein, Special Advisor to President Bush, and gained insight into international tourism promotion initiatives from Julie Heizer and Helen Marano representing the U.S. Department of Commerce.
During a Capitol Hill reception, NTA recognized Rep. Ernest Istook (R-Okla.), chairman of the Transportation and Treasury Appropriations Subcommittee, with its Distinguished Legislator Award, and heard an address from National Park Service Fran Mainella.
A highlight of the program was an industry panel urging the creation of an Office of Traveler Impact Assessment within the Department of Homeland Security. Panelists included Hank Phillips, CTP, NTA president; Pete Pantuso, president and CEO of the American Bus Association; Paul Ruden, senior vice president for legal and industry affairs for the American Society of Travel Agents; and Michael Palmer, executive director of the Student Youth Travel Association of North America.
NTA members stressed the OTIA initiative during meetings with their federal legislators or their aides on Capitol Hill.
"The highlight of the Symposium for me was meeting with my district representative, Congressman Rob Simmons," said J.P. Dansereau, travel industry sales manager for Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. "He was very responsive on the Office of Travelers Impact Assessment issue, and was in agreement that it was something that needed to happen."
Simmons is one of two legislators who have already sent letters to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge concerning the OTIA initiative. To read more about response to the OTIA push, click here.
This year’s event was the third Grassroots Symposium that NTA Chairman Mitch Sussman, CTP, has attended. Each year, he is impressed with the lineup of speakers and the education that participants receive on hot issues important to the industry.
"Walking away from the Grassroots Symposium every year, I always have no doubt in my mind that what we set out to accomplish was accomplished," said Sussman, chairman of Starr Tours in Trenton, N.J. "The Symposium is a great opportunity for us to let the important political decision makers know that tourism is a critical product of our economy, and that NTA is a voice that needs to be listened to. Once again, I think we did that, and I think we’re already seeing some positive results."
Special thanks go to New World Bus, Jones Lang Lasalle, The Sheraton Four Points Downtown, Spirit Cruises and Phillips Seafood Restaurants for their generosity in sponsoring the Symposium.
|NTA Vice Chairman Ann Thomas, CTP, meets with legislative aide Jesse Wadhams and Nevada Sen. John Ensign (right) during NTA’s Grassroots Symposium.|
Federal legislators were receptive during Grassroots Symposium Capitol Hill visits Feb. 24-25 when NTA members discussed the creation of an Office of Traveler Impact Assessment with the Department of Homeland Security.
NTA initiated the idea of creating the OTIA last year, then sought other travel industry support. The creation of the special office, meant to offer input on the impact threat level changes and other government actions have on travel and tourism, was the subject of an industry panel during Symposium that helped prime participants for their Hill visits. Discussing the critical need for the travel industry to have a voice within the Department of Homeland Security were panelists Hank Phillips, CTP, president of NTA; Paul Ruden, senior vice president for legal and industry affairs for the American Society of Travel Agents; Pete Pantuso, president and CEO of the American Bus Association; and Michael Palmer, executive director of the Student Youth Travel Association of North America.
After the session, NTA members took to Capitol Hill to press for Congressional support.
"I felt a real openness and a feeling that they knew we had the right idea," said NTA Vice Chairman Ann Thomas, CTP, who is owner/manager of Western Leisure LLC in Reno, Nev. Thomas met with Rep. Jim Gibbons (R-Nev.), Rep. Jon Porter (R-Nev.) and Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), and aides for Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) and Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
Since Symposium, Gibbons, as well as Rep. Robert Simmons (R-Conn.) have sent letters urging the creation of the OTIA to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) is expected to press Ridge on OTIA in the next few weeks, and other Congressional offices have requested additional information on the issue from NTA.
Timing for the push for OTIA is better now than it was a year ago, Phillips said.
"Security issues were No. 1 priority a year ago, and rightfully so," Phillips said. "Now, as this new era of security is taking root, there’s more of a comfort level for us and for our legislators to discuss the great need for dialogue within the Department of Homeland Security with respect to travelers and the travel industry. I’m encouraged by the response we’ve received."
Convention was months ago, and you’ve got a lot to catch up on with your NTA family. It’s not too late to arrange to do that at the Tour Operator Spring Meet, set March 24-27 in Little Rock, Ark.
Spring Meet is the chance for tour operators to learn how to be better at what you do, whether you participate in educational sessions, take part in crackerbarrels or find compatible business partners in the Partnering Session. And there’s always the social events that make it fun to reconnect with your NTA brothers and sisters. If you’re looking for a way to grow yourself as well as your business, click here to register.
Here’s more Spring Meet information to consider:
Start the Day with a Chuckle
|Nationally recognized speaker Joel Zeff will use humor to help wake tour operators up during the March 25 Power Breakfast at the Tour Operator Spring Meet.|
NTA is all about family, but more than likely your mom won’t be in Little Rock to jostle you awake every morning. On Thursday, March 25 that job goes to nationally recognized speaker and humorist Joel Zeff, charged with making you laugh during the 8-9:30 a.m. Power Breakfast.
Zeff’s session, "The Strength of Laughter – Increasing Creativity and Productivity by Having Fun," will teach you why having fun is the most important commodity in the workplace today. Learn how having fun can improve communication, productivity, teamwork and creativity while increasing the passion we have for our jobs.
This is just one of the many professional and industry speakers sure to provide you with valuable information during Spring Meet. For more information on the educational sessions available in Little Rock, visit http://www.ntaonline.com/ or e-mail Jason Jones, NTA’s assistant director of education, at email@example.com.
Get the Goods for a Good Cause
See what goodies your fellow NTA family members have put on the auction block by stopping by the Government Relations booth at Spring Meet to participate in the Government Relations Committee’s Silent Auction.
Sponsored by the Alaska Marine Highway, the Government Relations booth will be home to an array of silent auction items. The auction proceeds will go to support NTA’s advocacy funds, TourPAC and the Government Issues Fund. Get a great item and do your part to support NTA’s efforts to advocate on behalf of the industry.
There’s still time to donate an item to the silent auction. Contact Todd Hamilton at 800-682-8886, ext. 4205 or at firstname.lastname@example.org today.
ITS Design & Printing Inc. has joined NTA’s Corporate Partner program to provide members with printing and graphic design services at discounted rates.
Based in Ponoka, Alberta, ITS provides a wide range of graphic design, printing, full bindery and technical support services.
"My company, Starr Tours, has worked with ITS for the past five years and we’ve been very impressed with the prices and the quality of service they have provided us," said NTA Chairman Mitch Sussman, CTP. "I can personally attest that ITS is committed to making its customers excel."
Effective immediately, ITS will offer NTA members:
ITS also pledges technical advice or information even if the company is not doing the job. For details on ITS’ full range of graphic design and printing services, click here.
Contact ITS’ NTA Account Representative Lorne Veleti at 888-783-5777 or at mailto:%email@example.com.
|NTA Chairman Mitch Sussman, CTP, and Travelers Conservation Foundation Executive Director Bruce Beckham, CTP, start landscaping work at St. Louis Cemetery #1 in New Orleans. The work was part TCF’s Tourism Caring for America project, which NTA helped to sponsor.|
More than 350 travel professionals, including many NTA members, "gave back" to the industry Feb. 27 through participation in a Tourism Caring for America project at St. Louis Cemetery #1 in New Orleans.
Organized by the Travelers Conservation Foundation, the project involved doing landscaping and cleaning and putting protective paint on tombs in the city’s oldest cemetery, which dates to 1789. A local preservation group, Save Our Cemeteries, trained about 50 members of the Tour Guides Association of New Orleans on the delicate steps of the restoration, and the tour guides then instructed and supervised teams of participating travel professionals during the project.
"It was awesome. We were doing real preservation work down there," said Judd Gerber, vice president of Gerber Tours in Westbury, N.Y. "It was incredible to see the tourism industry come together to do work on a place that tourists see and a place that needs help. At the end of the day, you could really see the difference we had made."
Louise Saenz, executive director of Save Our Cemeteries, said the effort was the largest volunteer initiative that the city’s cemeteries have ever seen. "In addition to that, the quality of the work that was accomplished was really, really impressive. It’s made a tremendous impact on the site."
A follow-up survey among the event’s participants revealed that their primary motivation for participating was the cause.
|Mary Stachnik with Mayflower Tours Inc. in Downers Grove, Ill., cleans one of the tombs in the cemetery, which dates back to 1789.|
"I feel like the day that I earn my living is when I do something like that," said Nancy Jepson, director of contracting for Globus/Cosmos in Littleton, Colo. "It’s certainly not glamorous work, but it’s necessary work, and it’s a small way to say thank you to the industry that we’ve made our living from for years."
NTA was one of the sponsors of this year’s event, and was a sponsor of TCF’s first Tourism Caring for America project at Ellis Island in 2003. Mike Valentino with French Quarter Hotels served as local coordinator of the event, rallying hotels, restaurants and numerous travel and tourism-related companies to donate or provide services at a discounted rate. Beth Costa, projects coordinator with Collette Vacations in Pawtucket, R.I., worked to galvanize volunteers for the New Orleans work day.
About $5,000 worth of supplies and equipment used in the effort were left with Save Our Cemeteries for use in future preservation efforts.
"The hope was that this event would spur our local groups to come out and do their own project at the cemeteries, and that’s already happening," Saenz said. Eighty high school students have already scheduled a project at the same site, and members of the Tour Guides Association of New Orleans have pledged regular preservation workdays – efforts that were not possible before because funds weren’t available to buy the supplies and equipment.
While TCF hasn’t slated its next Tourism Caring for America project yet, there’s no question that there will be another.
"This type of activity resonates with people," said TCF Executive Director Bruce Beckham, CTP. "They overwhelmingly respond that they enjoy the give-back part. They feel it’s time well spent and they enjoy doing it. When you’ve got good causes, those are the things that move you forward."
Tour suppliers and DMOs, March 15 is your final opportunity to pay your membership renewal dues and the last day to book advertising or any kind of directory listing enhancement in the 2004-2005 NTA Tour Supplier/DMO Directory.
Don’t miss out on all the business opportunities at Annual Convention, chances to partner with fellow members, valuable discounts through Corporate Partners or on sponsorships and advertising, and other benefits of NTA membership. Renew today by mailing in your invoice with payment or call today to renew by phone. Call 800-682-8886 (U.S. and Canada) or 859-226-4444 and ask for Member Services.
If you want a way to tell tour operators what your company or destination has to offer, an ad in the association’s Tour Supplier/DMO Directory – another great member benefit – will do the trick.
NTA tour operators keep this publication nearby throughout the year for use in planning itineraries, so your message is sure to be seen. If an ad isn’t possible, you may want to increase your listing’s visibility by making it bold and including your logo. For more information, contact John Miller at 800-682-8886, ext. 4350 or by e-mail at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Tourism Foundation will award tens of thousands of dollars worth of scholarships in 2004. The application deadline for these scholarships is May 10. For applications or additional information on all the awards that are currently available, click here.
Here are a few of the awards that are available to travel and tourism students this year:
The Societe Des Casinos Du Quebec Scholarship
Available to a student at a two- or four-year college who is a resident of Quebec. Award amount: $1,000
The Tampa Hillsborough Legacy Scholarship
Available to a student who is a Florida resident and is enrolled at a Florida college or university. Award amount: $1,000
The Cleveland Legacy I & II Scholarship
Available to a full-time student at a two- or four-year college or university who is a resident of Ohio. Award amount: $1,000
The Yellow Ribbon Scholarship
Available to a student with a physical or sensory disability who is a full-time student at a two- or four-year college or university in North America. Award amount: $2,500
The New Horizons Kathy LeTarte Scholarship
Available to a student from Michigan who is studying at a four-year accredited university anywhere in North America. Award amount: $1,000
The Tulsa Legacy Scholarship
Available to an Oklahoma resident enrolled at a four-year college or university in Oklahoma. Award amount: $500
Looking for a quick and painless-to-the-pocketbook way to promote your itineraries to potentially millions?
Thanks to a partnership between the Travel Industry Association of America, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, tour operators are invited to post their NPS itineraries on the See America’s National Parks Web site. The public will be invited to the Web site to check out what the parks and you have to offer. To post your itineraries, click here.
Even if you have no NPS itineraries, you can still take advantage of the great exposure. If you are discounting any trips, regardless of whether they include a national park as a destination, you can post your deals on the Web site for no charge. Simply click on the link below, select "Travel Deals" and you’ll see an option at the bottom of the screen to submit your travel deals. Be sure to fill in an expiration date so it automatically rotates off the Web site when the deal expires. To post your discounted offerings, click here.
Front and center in front of the best and brightest in the packaged travel industry. That’s where you could be at NTA’s Annual Convention if you take advantage of the one of the many sponsorship opportunities available.
Whether you host a luncheon, sponsor one of the National Tourism Foundation’s auctions or help make the popular Seminar CD possible, a Convention sponsorship is sure to get you attention.
Book your sponsorship today to ensure your message is in the right place at the right time. To view a list of sponsorship opportunities, click here. For more information regarding sponsorship opportunities, contact Annie Barret at email@example.com or at 800-682-8886, ext. 4238.
On average, 31 percent of the 109 million U.S. households took at least one trip each month in 2002 of at least 50 miles one way from home or that included at least one overnight stay. This included 37 percent of Asian, 28 percent of Hispanic and 22 percent of African American households, according to the Travel Industry Association of America.
Asian Americans account for 3.7 percent of U.S. households but generate 4.0 percent of all trips, while Hispanics make up 9.6 percent of households and take 8 percent of trips. African Americans account for 12.2 percent of households and take 8 percent of trips. The profiles of these travelers mirror those of the general U.S. traveling population on many key travel behaviors and demographic characteristics. But emerging majorities also exhibit some unique behaviors and characteristics:
NTA members can get a 5 percent discount on registration for the What’s Next? Business Conference on the burgeoning baby boomer market set April 13 in San Francisco.
The conference is sponsored by the American Society on Aging and its Business Forum on Aging, and Mary Furlong & Associates. Mary Furlong, who has guided online and offline-marketing strategies for U.S. corporations for their 45+ age markets for more than 20 years, was an educational seminar speaker at the 2002 NTA Annual Convention in Los Angeles.
The What’s Next? Business Conference will focus on the marketing, product development, sales and other business aspects of serving the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population, people who are age 50 and older. Successful companies and marketing strategies will be showcased as well as trends and opportunities.
NTA members should note that the registration form on the conference’s Web site does not contain a reference to the NTA discount. To take advantage of the discount, your payment should reflect 5 percent off the registration fee and note that you are an NTA member. To register or find out more information, click here or call 800-537-9728, ext. 9675.
The steps to look up a past Tuesday article have changed with the advent of the HTML version of the newsletter.
To locate an article in the Tuesday archives, simply click on "News & Publications" on NTA Online’s home page, then "Tuesday newsletter." That will pull up the latest issue of Tuesday, and you can click on the "Archives" button on the left to search for the article you need.