January 23, 2007
Tuesday Newsletter Jan. 23, 2007
Volume 27: Issue 4
|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 firstname.lastname@example.org.|
|Interested in becoming a sponsor for Tuesday? Contact Karla DiNardo at karla.dinardo@NTA.travel.|
|NOTE – Everyone flying to the United States will need a passport, starting Jan. 23, 2007, including U.S. citizens.
To learn more, click here.
The NTA Leadership Team and Board of Directors held their first meetings of the year Jan. 12 and 13 in Alexandria, Virginia. Each Leadership Team member is also assigned to one of NTA’s five committees, which also met.
NTA Chairman and CEO Randy Julian kicked off the meetings thanking the team members for their commitment to the association. Noting that the group would offer a "great mix of history and fresh perspective," he said 45 percent of the volunteer leaders had never served on an NTA committee before and that 60 percent of the group had not served in 2006.
NTA used a strategic planning and association management professional, Paul Meyer with Tecker Consultants, to conduct a development session for NTA’s Board and to facilitate the Leadership Team meeting.
Before their committee meetings, the volunteer leaders conducted a scan of the travel industry environment, including discussion of trends and assumptions for the future. The group also reviewed its role in the association’s strategic planning process.
NTA thanks the Alexandria CVA and its area partners for hosting the event.
NTA Chairman and CEO Randy Julian invited Roger Dow to address NTA’s Leadership Team during its recent meeting. Dow, TIA’s president and CEO, saluted NTA’s past efforts to help promote travel and tourism interests on Capitol Hill and looked forward to working with NTA to strengthen inbound tourism to the United States.
He noted that the United States had lost significant inbound tourism market share in the last 10 years and that the opinion of the United States abroad, even among allies, had dropped dramatically. He indicated that the U.S. travel/tourism industry should work together, through the Discover America partnership, to improve America’s image worldwide and promote inbound tourism to the United States. He cited numerous statistics to indicate that international travelers to the United States have a substantially better opinion of the country than non-visitors and that the United States is losing billions of dollars through decreased travel/tourism market share.
In a letter addressed to travel industry members dated Jan. 17, United Airlines announced that it is adjusting parts of its group product.
One of the main changes involves credit card payments for group deposits. United will begin accepting payments using all major credit cards – including Visa, MasterCard and American Express – on all deposits due for group bookings. This will be an added option for agency bookings, but may become a requirement for non-agency bookings in the future.
In addition to accepting credit cards for deposits, the letter also outlines new stipulations regarding a 50/50 names requirement and changes to Hawaii discounts and blackout dates. All of the changes take effect immediately.
In the letter, Robert McDowell, United’s managing director of specialty sales, wrote, "We at United understand that the substantial changes we have made to the parameters for groups have caused difficult adjustments for many of our customers. As promised in our prior communication, we continue to work toward a goal of a radically different process for making, evaluating and booking group requests."
If you are a U.S. citizen who is flying to Canada for the 2007 NTA Tour Operator Spring Meet in Kelowna, British Columbia, NTA wants to remind you that you will need a passport to do so. Effective today, the air transportation portion of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative requires all U.S. residents to present a valid passport to re-enter the United States when flying home.
- Click here to access a document that contains frequently asked questions related to the new passport requirements.
- Click here to access the Department of State Web site, which contains information on new policies and passport application forms.
The U.S. Department of State Web site reports that standard processing time for a new passport is approximately six weeks; however it is recommended that persons choose the expedited service if traveling within eight weeks.
Registration for the 2007 NTA Tour Operator Spring Meet, which takes place April 26-28, is available online at http://springmeet.nta.travel/. Don’t forget, NTA is offering complimentary airfare from any U.S. airport serviced by United Airlines to either Seattle, Washington, or Vancouver, British Columbia, to the first 150 tour operators and receptive tour operators that register for Spring Meet. Click here to read more about that offer.
While the 2007 NTA Annual Convention is more than nine months away, the Convention Committee was hard at work during the recent Leadership Meeting in Alexandria, Virginia. After reviewing the 2006 Convention evaluation results from Salt Lake City, several components of the NTA Convention were discussed.
Based on member feedback, the Convention Committee recommended and the Board approved changing the Monday schedule for the 2007 Convention. Previously, attendees had Tour & Travel Exchange appointments on Monday morning with education in the afternoon. The 2007 Monday schedule will kick off with the Super Session in the morning, followed by the Theatre Direct International/I Love NY Luncheon and business appointments in the afternoon. The change would allow more delegates to attend this educational session and have a more relaxed morning with business being conducted in the afternoon.
Mark your calendar for the 2007 NTA Annual Convention, Nov. 2-6 in Kansas City, Missouri. Watch Tuesday for the latest information on the packaged travel industry’s premier networking event.
NTA joins ASTA in urging the defeat of H.B. 147, a Montana House bill that would create a tax on intermediary fees charged on hotel and car rental reservations. The tax, which is modeled after legislation offered in several states, is designed specifically to target online travel companies.
NTA’s opposition stems from the association’s long-held belief that travel/tourism taxes should only be used to promote tourism promotion and development. Your association has notified tour operators in Montana of the legislation and urged them to contact their local elected officials.
NTA is partnering with Temple University and its School of Hospitality Management to revamp the Certified Tour Professional program. One of the first steps in the process is gaining a better understanding of NTA’s members, and what continuing education needs they have. To that end, your association needs members to take a survey administered by Temple University to help with the program’s development.
"I recently participated in an initial CTP meeting with Temple representatives, and it was a great discussion," said Cindy Brown with NTA member Boston Duck Tours and chairman of NTA’s Communication and Education Development Committee. "The meeting increased my enthusiasm about the program, and I ask all members to share their opinion and voice in developing NTA’s new program."
To make this survey most successful, volunteers from all member categories with varying responsibilities and preferably at least four years of packaged travel industry experience are needed. You do not have to be a CTP – in fact, it is better to have a mix of CTPs and non-CTPs for the survey. If you’d be willing to participate in this survey and help with the development of the new program, e-mail NTA’s Vice President of Marketing Lisa Thompson by Friday, Feb. 2.
The audio recordings from the educational sessions at the 2006 NTA Annual Convention are now available. Members wishing to listen to any of the seminars can do so online by clicking here. You will need your member ID number and password to access the recordings.
For some of the educational seminars, PowerPoint presentations or handouts are available. A note will appear beside the audio link if this is the case. Anyone who wants a copy of a specific presentation or handout, should call NTA Events Manager for Education Rachel White at 800.682.8886, ext. 4402 (U.S. and Canada) or 859.226.4402 or e-mail her at rachel.white@NTA.travel.
Asia/Pacific Business Outlook 2007 will take place in Los Angeles, March 26-27. The conference is centered around learning and information-sharing regarding doing business in the Asia/Pacific region.
APBO, hosted by the University of Southern California with the full support of the U.S. Commercial Service, is the longest running regional conference of its kind dealing specifically with Asian markets. This conference focuses primarily on U.S. exporters and has become the premier U.S. commercial trade event on this emerging region.
For APBO 2007, 14 senior commercial officers will be on hand from American embassies, consulates and institutes in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Each will speak in small-group workshops and be available for private one-on-one consultations with APBO participants. Additional expert presenters will be on hand to share their experiences of working with the Asian market.
To learn more about this education-based event, go to http://www.apbo2007.com/. The cost if you register by Feb. 26 is $775 and, after that, it is $925. All travel industry professionals should use the code DOC2007 when registering.
Registration for the Poland Product Development Trip is now open at NTA.travel. The Poland trip will take place May 19-27 and the itinerary includes stops in Warsaw, Czestochowa, Auschwitz and Krakow.
For this particular Product Development Trip, NTA will allow as many as two attendees per company. The registration deadline is April 13 and to sign up, click here. Questions regarding any of the 2007 Product Development Trips can be directed to NTA Vice President of Marketing Lisa Thompson at lisa.thompson@NTA.travel.
The NTA Tour Operator Spring Meet will be held April 26-28 in Kelowna, British Columbia. With an estimated 150 tour operators in attendance, the event gives sponsors a great way to network with tour operators and gain visibility for their destination/company. Nearly 65 percent of those tour operators in attendance at the 2006 Spring Meet were their company’s decision-makers, so sponsors get direct access to this key group of buyers.
Spring Meet sponsor Amy Tatman of Experience Columbus said: "Spring Meet is always so well organized and attended. I enjoy the relaxed environment and the opportunity to interact with so many tour operators."
Click here for more information on Spring Meet sponsorships and find out how you can attend one of the industry’s premier events, designed specifically for NTA tour operators. All sponsorships are sold on a first-come, first-served basis, so call 800.682.8886, ext. 4232 (U.S. and Canada) or 859.226.4232 or e-mail advertising@NTA.travel today to learn more.