February 13, 2007
Tuesday Newsletter February 13, 2007
Volume 27: Issue 7
|The Berkely Group provides a competitive Travel Protection Plan to NTA members. The plan includes an administration-free product that operators can sell to their clients and a group product that offers flexibility in pricing and compensation. To learn more click here or contact Geni Priolo at email@example.com.|
|Interested in becoming a sponsor for Tuesday? Contact Karla DiNardo at karla.dinardo@NTA.travel.|
The National Park Service would see a significant increase in funding, should the 2008 budget proposed by President George W. Bush pass the U.S. Congress, while Amtrak would face cuts. Bush’s budget seeks to add at least $100 million a year for the next 10 years to the Park Service, with funds going to hire 3,000 much-needed seasonal park rangers, guides and maintenance workers each summer.
Additionally, the president wants Congress to guarantee that the federal government would match philanthropic donations to the National Park Service each year, up to $100 million. Currently, about $20 million is contributed each year by supporters of national parks, such as family foundations. Taken together, the proposals could provide $3 billion in new parks funding by 2016 – when the Park Service will celebrate its 100th anniversary.
The two proposals would have to be approved separately by Congress. The 2008 parks allocation of $2.4 billion, with its record increase in operating funds, would become final if Congress approves the proposal. The matching-funds portion would have to be approved by committees with jurisdiction over the U.S. Department of the Interior.
The proposal is being welcomed by groups that advocate on behalf of the nearly 400 sites managed by the National Park Service, which has seen jobs for seasonal workers cut during lean budget years and watched the monies from its post-9/11 budget increases go to address security issues rather than infrastructure, programming and staffing priorities.
The budget calls for the allocation of $800 million to Amtrak, a figure that is $100 million less than was proposed in Bush’s 2007 budget.
Last September the Canadian government elected to eliminate the Canadian Goods and Services Tax Visitor Rebate Program, effective April 2007. NTA is joining with TIAC in asking for your support to keep this important program alive. Please sign an online petition to preserve the VRP Program.
According to a study commissioned by TIAC, the elimination of the VRP could result in a decline in visitor spending of CDN$382 million, a decrease of CDN$132 million in government revenue, a reduction in the Gross Domestic Product of CDN$238 million and the loss of 5,700 jobs in the tourism sector.
A survey was e-mailed to all NTA tour operators and DMOs yesterday, seeking feedback on the length of appointments for the Saturday Tour & Travel Exchange at the NTA Annual Convention. The six-question survey, designed by the NTA Convention Committee, focuses on the length and structure of appointments between tour operators and DMOs.
Input received will help the committee determine modifications to the Exchange appointments for this year’s Annual Convention in Kansas City, Missouri, so it is important that all tour operators and DMOs respond by the Feb. 23 deadline.
Additionally, tour suppliers who wish to share their thoughts can do so by e-mailing questions@NTA.travel.
Do you want to make your Web site a more useful marketing tool for your company? Do you have questions related to Web-based technology? Do you want to impress your customers with your company Web site?
Tour operators and receptive tour operators will be treated to two separate educational sessions at the 2007 Spring Meet that focus on Web site promotions and online marketing strategies. After receiving rave reviews from her 2006 Convention appearance in Salt Lake, Marla Johnson Norris of Aristotle Inc. in Little Rock, Arkansas, will appear in Kelowna, British Columbia, to help tour operators learn new and creative online marketing ideas.
Make plans to attend Norris’ Saturday morning breakout session, "Opportunity Knocks – 25 Ways to Promote Your Travel Company Online." Following lunch, Norris will be available to answer Web site and technology-related questions during a Q&A session. Tour operators are encouraged to e-mail Norris with their company URL and "fix it" questions at firstname.lastname@example.org prior to Spring Meet. The questions will be addressed during the Q&A session to open the discussion.
Click here to access the full list of seminar descriptions for the 2007 NTA Tour Operator Spring Meet, to be held April 26-28. Registration is available, as is complimentary airfare through United Airlines for registered tour operators and receptive tour operators.
Contact your Member Services team at questions@NTA.travel to learn more.
Although the final numbers aren’t in, it looks like 2006 will go down as the best year ever for international tourist arrivals. According to data from the United Nations World Tourism Organization, the number of arrivals is expected to end up at 842 million, which would mark the highest one-year total and represent a 4.5 percent increase over 2005.
The strongest performer was Africa, which posted an 8.1 percent increase, while arrivals to the Asia and Pacific region were up 7.6 percent. Europe and the Middle East both grew at a rate of around 4 percent, while the increase in arrivals to the Americas was 2 percent. From a revenue-generation standpoint, the United States remained the world’s top tourism destination, followed by France and Spain.
In a press release announcing the results, UNWTO also forecast an increase for total 2007 tourist arrivals of 4 percent. Long-term, an annual growth rate of 4.1 is projected through 2020, as businesses, consumers, governments and international institutions become better able to anticipate shocks and to respond more effectively to crises.
To read the full report, including extensive region-by-region data, click here.
NTA is pleased to announce that the registration is open for the Peru Product Development Trip, to be held Dec. 6-12.
The trip will begin and end in Lima and will highlight the beautiful Spanish and Incan culture that makes the area so unique. And, no trip to Peru would be complete without a visit to Machu Picchu, the mysterious mountaintop ruins of the Incas. You’ll find that, and more, in the itinerary that has been carefully planned by the trip’s host, Akorn Destination Management.
The itinerary and registration form are available at NTA.travel with a deadline to register of Oct. 2. Up to two employees per tour operator company may attend.
Over the last few months, members of your volunteer leadership have spoken on behalf of the association at various industry events.
Tomorrow, NTA Chairman and CEO Randy Julian will speak at "Destination: Greater Pittsburgh." Part of his message will focus on bringing more travel professionals from that area into the NTA family. In January, NTA Board member Cathy Greteman attended the "Tour Rhode Island, There’s No Place Like Home" event. Greteman offered her gratitude to Tour Rhode Island for their generous donation to NTA’s official philanthropic organization, Tourism Cares.
This spring will be a busy time as well. Currently, NTA leaders will be speaking at the Oregon’s Governor’s Conference, at Colorado’s Pre-Convention Caucus, to Clemson University students and to the Vermont Tourism Network.
To stay in touch with Julian, please call him on the Chairman and CEO hotline. That number is 502.682.6521.
Lenore Lewis Abels, editor and publisher at Travel Trade Publications, passed away suddenly on Feb. 9, as the result of cardiac complications following a recent fall in her home.
The 79-year-old Abels and her husband Joel, who passed away Jan. 25, were well-known for producing Travel Trade magazine and had devoted themselves to the industry through vigorous lobbying and advocate work. The magazine was founded by Lenore’s grandfather, Sidney Lewis, 78 years ago.
"For over 40 years, the Abels represented one of the idyllic editorial teams for the tour and travel industry," said NTA Legislative Counsel Jim Santini.
The funeral service will be held at noon, Thursday, Feb. 15, at the Larchmont Avenue Presbyterian Church, 60 Forest Park Ave., Larchmont, NY. Memorial donations can be made to any of the following organizations:
Tourism Cares has posted its list of academic scholarship opportunities for 2007 to students studying travel, tourism or hospitality. Included in the 35 scholarships are a graduate research grant and an internship. Scholarship awards range from $1,000 to $3,500 and are open to those in undergraduate or graduate programs.
Again this year, scholarship recipients can network and experience the industry as part of Tourism Cares’ Experiential Learning program. Academic scholarship recipients will be invited to attend the Tourism Cares Experience the Industry Student Program at the 2007 NTA Annual Convention, to be held in Kansas City, Missouri, Nov. 2-6.
New for 2007 are the special Experiential Learning Scholarships, which will be awarded to transport and host students who wish to volunteer side-by-side with tourism professionals participating in the Tourism Cares for America Restoration Project in Virginia City, Nevada, May 17-19. Tourism Cares is dedicated to these students that are the future of the travel and tourism industry.
In-depth information and downloadable applications for the academic scholarships are available at http://www.tourismcares.org/. Deadline for applications is April 1.
NTA’s Annual Convention will be here before you know it, and one of the best ways to set your company or destination apart from the 2,500 other delegates at this premier industry event is through sponsorship. Sponsors receive premium visibility before, during and after Convention, along with incredible benefits package – including a booth for the entire Convention for those who sponsor at the US$5,000-plus level.