June 5, 2007
Tuesday Newsletter June 5, 2007
Volume 27: Issue 23
|Join NTA in Kansas City for the 2007 NTA Annual Convention to explore innovative ways to develop tour product. Our host city has invested $4.5 billion in ongoing downtown revitalization and will welcome the NTA family Nov. 2-6. Click here to learn more and experience NTA!|
|Interested in becoming a Tuesday sponsor? E-mail Karla DiNardo at karla.dinardo@NTA.travel.|
NPS Entrance Fees Impact Consumers, Not Operators
Tour Operators Doing Their Part on Tracking Issue
Poland Product Development Trip Highlights a European Gem
Only Two Weeks Remain to Reach 20,000 Group Leaders
Keeping up the Good Work through Tourism Cares
Your Feedback is Invaluable; Respond by June 8
Bob Everidge Award Nomination Deadline is June 22
Kansas City will showcase its $4.5 billion downtown renaissance during sightseeing and familiarization tours as part of the 2007 NTA Annual Convention, Nov. 2-6. Ten sightseeing, two pre- and three post-Fam tours have been planned to introduce NTA members to Kansas City and aid in product development.
The local sightseeing tours will showcase the city’s jazz, theater, world-famous barbecue, historic attractions, shopping and boutiques – and that’s only a sampling. Comprehensive lists of all the sightseeing tours and Fam tours are now available at the Kansas City CVA’s Web site.
Discover the unique experiences that you and your clients can have in Kansas City by registering for the 2007 NTA Annual Convention.
The final Tour Operator Spring Meet evaluation results support the buzz that has been building following the 2007 event. In the post-Meet survey, participants rated the Spring Meet in Kelowna, British Columbia, an 8.9 out of 10, which is tied for the highest rated Spring Meet ever.
The educational seminars received an 8.3 rating, which is their highest mark in the last seven years. Members wishing to hear the audio portion from the seminars can do so by clicking here.
NTA would again like to thank the sponsors and Tourism Kelowna and its partners for making this such a memorable gathering. To find out more about what took place at this year’s event, go to the Spring Meet Recap page at NTA.travel.
Next year’s Tour Operator Spring Meet will take place at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut, April 2-4, 2008.
In an article in the May 22 issue of Tuesday, NTA reported that the U.S. National Park Service had clarified what is happening with entrance fees for its sites in 2007-08. NTA initiated a conference call between the association and NPS leaders, on which NPS officials gave assurance that the flat commercial fees tour operators and motorcoach companies pay are not going up in 2007 and that they would honor their commitment to give NTA at least 12 months notice of any increase in commercial fees.
Even though rates aren’t going up for tour operators, individual visitors are seeing increases in NPS site admission and parking fees. Additionally, the cost of annual park passes has gone up for 2007 for individuals.
NTA has a longstanding partnership with the Park Service, and has continued to work on behalf of its members on issues related to visitation and fees at these treasured landmarks. For many years, the two groups also have teamed up on program development and visitor enhancement projects at NPS sites. Currently NTA leaders are helping NPS and American Recreation Coalition officials develop iPod audio tours for one of America’s Scenic Byways, the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
The Alaska legislature provided clarity on an amendment to the cruise ship tax initiative that the state’s citizens approved last summer. The Alaska Senate passed a bill in late May that will modify the component of the law that requires the cruise lines to disclose the commission or mark-up on operators’ shore excursions.
The language in the bill allows cruise lines to either disclose mark-ups on shore excursions or disclose that "the tours featured onboard a cruise ship pay for that advertisement." It also obligates cruise lines to remind customers that they are "free to book alternative tours on their own," and that the cruise lines can help them do that.
The clarification was spurred by a lawsuit brought by a group of Alaska tour operators last month.
Last week, representatives of the U.S. National Park Service met with President George W. Bush to outline a vision for revitalizing America’s NPS sites. U.S. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne and NPS Director Mary Bomar unveiled the details in their report, "The Future of America’s National Parks," which casts vision as America looks ahead to the Parks Service’s centennial in 2016.
The report sets forth a number of initiatives, and highlighted the following specific performance goals to be accomplished by 2016:
- Improve priority facilities to acceptable condition
- Restore native habitats by controlling invasive species, and reintroducing key plant and animal species
- Improve natural resources in parks as measured by scientific vital signs monitoring
- Reduce environmental impacts of park operations
- Double the amount of volunteer hours
- Enroll two million new Junior Rangers
- Encourage greater partnership and philanthropy
Kempthorne said the core of the report was written following a nationwide series of listening sessions that drew about 4,500 people. The goals, strategies and the selected centennial projects and programs will be supported by plans for each of the 391 national parks. Bomar, who said it will take "an army of supporters" to help reach the centennial goals, will work with NPS employees and with park advocacy groups to recommend criteria for prioritizing and selecting centennial projects.
As proposed in President Bush’s budget for the 2008 fiscal year, the Centennial Initiative would receive a potential $3 billion in funds for the national park system. The president has already proposed $1 billion over 10 years, above existing budgets, to be spent on park operations. He also called for Americans to donate $1 billion over 10 years to the Park Service to be matched by up to $1 billion from a special centennial account.
The full report is available at www.nps.gov/2016.
NTA tour operators are stepping up and doing their part to help their DMO and tour supplier compatriots with NTA’s Person-to-Person Tracking initiative. To date, 92 tour operators have participated in the project, and an additional nine pledged their support during the 2008 Spring Meet.
To make this project a success, more tour operators are still needed to dedicate a small amount of time to help NTA gather the tracking data. It will help ensure that the DMO and supplier partners that are so important to tour operators are still around to provide their invaluable services to the operator.
And, it’s very easy! As Allen Glander of Main Street Tours put it, "I appreciate the manner in which NTA has prepared this project. Allowing us, the tour operator, some flexibility and the ability to be accountable due to plenty of lead time to prepare the requested information has made it possible for us to comply. This is a monumental yet supremely important task that NTA has taken on and it is being executed extremely well."
NTA would like to thank these tour operators who recently completed the survey:
If you have not already pledged your support to this project, please e-mail Lisa Thompson, NTA’s vice president, marketing, and she can get you signed up.
NTA would like to thank its host, Marion Cockayne of Travel with Marion, an NTA tour operator in Bristol, Connecticut, for hosting an outstanding Product Development Trip to Poland.
From Warsaw to Krakow, the trip highlighted what is often called Europe’s "hidden gem" to 10 NTA tour operators. Additionally, the operators had a chance to sit down with various local tour suppliers who could give them more insights on how they can develop product to this magnificent, often bypassed, destination.
Watch for a full recap on this trip in an upcoming issue of Courier. If you have questions about attending or hosting an NTA Product Development Trip, please contact Lisa Thompson, NTA’s vice president, marketing.
The Trip Planner for Group Leaders offers a way for you to get your company/destination in front of 20,000 group leaders as well as 1,400 NTA tour operators.
The Trip Planner includes editorial that is specifically geared toward these 20,000 qualified group leaders who are actively planning tours. Articles in this unique resource for the group leader will highlight the diversity and professionalism of the association and its members. The extended shelf life of this planning guide will provide year-round exposure for NTA members.
Don’t miss out on your chance to reach these group leaders with big-time buying power. The space deadline for The Trip Planner for Group Leaders is June 22 so there is only two weeks left to reserve space for your company or destination.
Two prestigious organizations have chosen Tourism Cares as the vehicle to "give back" and show that they care about the future of historic and cultural sites in America.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company will hold a Tourism Cares for America project at Ellis Island in New York on June 20. Ritz-Carlton general managers from the Northeast region will work side-by-side with customers on the south side of Ellis Island. This is the third year that Ritz-Carlton has partnered with Tourism Cares on such a project. The previous ones were held in New Orleans and Alcatraz Island.
On June 27, nearly 200 travel agent and supplier members of Vacation.com will gather during their annual conference to work on a restoration project in New Orleans. Vacation.com members wanted a way to give back during their visit to this community that is still very much in need. Like all Tourism Cares for America projects, the volunteer activity not only provides a service to the community but creates an atmosphere of cohesiveness among the workers.
If your organization is interested in sponsoring and organizing a project of this type, please contact Tourism Cares Executive Director Bruce Beckham at 781.821.5990 or email@example.com.
To see photos of the recent Tourism Cares project in Virginia City, click here.
The June 8 deadline is coming, and NTA doesn’t want to miss having your input on the 2007 Trends Analysis Survey. The survey, which was originally distributed May 21, seeks member input on products, package types and general business information.
If you have any questions while completing the Web survey, please contact Sandy Stansfield, NTA research analyst at sandy.stansfield@NTA.travel.
The fifth Bob Everidge Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented at the 2007 NTA Convention in Kansas City, Missouri, and nominations are due June 22. The award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding, ongoing contributions to NTA and its members and can be submitted by any person employed by an NTA member company.
Nominations should be made for members who display active dedication to the mission of NTA and seek the best for its members; make extensive volunteer contributions to NTA and its members; consistently conduct themselves in a manner in keeping with the ethics, quality and sense of community espoused by NTA; and are involved in the travel industry beyond NTA to further the interests of NTA and its members.
Nominations should be submitted to NTA Executive Assistant Celeste Moore.