January 16, 2007
Tuesday Newsletter Jan. 16, 2007
Volume 27: Issue 3
|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.|
|NOTE – Everyone flying to the United States will need a passport, starting Jan. 23, 2007, including U.S. citizens.
To learn more, click here.
NTA’s volunteer Leadership Team gathered over the weekend in Alexandria, Virginia, for its first meeting in 2007. Committee meetings were a part of the sessions, as the team met as a full group then broke into smaller groups to work on committee-specific topics. The NTA Board of Directors also held its first meeting of the year.
Some information on the meetings is included in this edition of Tuesday, but look for a full recap in the Jan. 23 issue.
At its meeting during the NTA Leadership Team sessions, the NTA Government Relations Committee came out in support of the expansion of the Visa Waiver Program. The committee believes the program, which is part of the border crossing issue NTA will be tackling as a priority issue for 2007 (see related article below), will stimulate international inbound tourism to the United States.
Support for the program’s expansion comes on the heels of comments made by President Bush while he was visiting Estonia in late 2006. During a bilateral meeting with the country’s prime minister, President Bush said, "I am pleased to announce that I’m going to work with our Congress and our international partners to modify our Visa Waiver Program. It’s a way to make sure that nations like Estonia qualify more quickly for the program and, at the same time, strengthen the program’s security components."
The Visa Waiver Program, which currently includes 27 countries, allows citizens from those nations to visit the United States for up to 90 days without a visa. Countries can qualify for the program by demonstrating that their citizens observe visa stay deadlines and that they have a low percentage of rejected visa applications.
"Certainly, the domestic and international packaged tour industry will continue to support any federal government initiative that will encourage increased visitation to the U.S. that is consistent with security imperatives," said NTA Legislative Counsel Jim Santini. "Today, there are friendly nations that deserve to be incorporated into the existing Visa Waiver Program. It is the hope of our association, that all nations meeting the existing visa waiver program standards will be included in our family of friendly entrants to the U.S. as soon as possible."
The board of directors has selected its priority advocacy issues for the association in 2007. Border crossing issues and travel industry regulations, taxes and user fees head this year’s five-point agenda.
Other issues noted for special attention include pushing to have the Fair Labor Standards Act updated, working with the National Parks Service on issues and working to build federal tourism support and promotion to create a Cabinet-level tourism position. The board chose these issues at its Jan. 14 meeting. Selections were based on responses from the association’s tour operators in the annual Member Viewpoint Survey.
"NTA has a strong foundation in advocacy which will serve us well as we tackle these issues in 2007," said NTA Chairman and CEO Randy Julian. "This year is shaping up as one in which NTA will be addressing a number of major issues and opportunities on behalf of the packaged travel industry. We look forward to working with industry allies in making sure our voice is heard."
The Jan. 31 deadline to renew your 2007 NTA membership is quickly approaching. You may renew by mailing your payment to:
- NTA Headquarters
546 East Main Street
Lexington, KY 40508 USA
Alternately, you can renew online by clicking here. To access the online renewal option, you will need your member ID and password.
Enclosed with your membership invoice was a Directory Update Form, which allows you to verify the information NTA has on file for your company. Use the form to update your profile or verify that the information is current, then fax it to 859.226.4414. Company profile information can also be updated online at the link provided above. By taking the time to communicate these changes to NTA, you will ensure that your listing in the 2007-08 Membership Directory is accurate.
If you have questions related to your company information or the renewal process, please contact your NTA Member Services team at 800.682.8886 (U.S. and Canada) or 859.226.4444.
Last September the Canadian government elected to eliminate the Canadian Goods and Services Tax Visitor Rebate Program, effective April 2007. The Travel Industry Association of Canada and the Frontier Duty Free Association, with the support of industry allies, commissioned a study to look into the possible ramifications of the decision.
Released today, the VRP Economic Impact Assessment Report argues that the decision essentially revokes tourism’s status as an export industry. While the GST elimination, which TIAC felt was made without adequate consideration of tourism interests and impact on affected stakeholders, was estimated to save $86 million in combined GST rebates and VRP overhead costs, the full financial consequences of the decision need to be analyzed.
The report presents detailed information on the negative economic impacts of the decision, including an estimated:
- Decline in visitor spending of CDN$382 million
- Loss of CDN$132 million in government revenue leading to a net loss of CDN$46 million
- Reduction in the Gross Domestic Product of CDN$238 million
- Decline in employment of 5,700 jobs in the tourism sector
- Loss of key accommodation, convention, restaurant/bar and retail expenditure by both group and individual incoming visitors, which will impact a broad range of Canadian businesses across the country
NTA is a member of the Visitor Rebate Program Coalition, which was established by TIAC to help push for reinstatement of the VRP.
Matt Thornhill, the leading authority on the boomer market who has been featured on "CBS Evening News," "NBC Nightly News," CNBC and MSNBC, will share his research on selling and marketing to baby boomers at the 2007 NTA Tour Operator Spring Meet in Kelowna, British Columbia, April 26-28. Thornhill, of Boomer Project, and his insightful presentation will help tour operators learn to communicate effectively with this influential market.
While the schedule of events offers many well-rounded options for delegates, education and professional development are at the heart of Spring Meet. Online registration for the event launched Jan. 8, at http://springmeet.nta.travel/.
With the implementation of the air portion of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative passport requirement just seven days away, the U.S. State Department and Department of Homeland Security are again highlighting the specifics of the plan to the traveling public.
In a recent news release, the DHS reiterated that the Phase One WHTI language requires that "beginning Jan. 23, 2007, ALL persons, including U.S. citizens, traveling by air between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda will be required to present a valid passport to enter (or re-enter) the United States."
DHS also has updated its Web site with additional information on the following topics that pertain to the initiative :
Dates for all NTA conferences, board and leadership meetings and Product Development Trips are finalized and the 2007 calendar has been updated. The list, which also includes other industry events and functions, is posted at NTA.travel.
This thorough and valuable resource is a living document. If there is an event that is open to NTA members and you would like to add it to the list, e-mail that information to NTA Manager, Public Relations, Sara Morton.
United Airlines, NTA’s official airline provider, has been awarded the new nonstop U.S.-China route by the U.S. Department of Transportation. In its decision, DOT found that "United’s Washington (Dulles)-Beijing proposal has important advantages that should benefit the traveling public while also enhancing sustainability of the service." The new route could begin as early as March 25.
United asked NTA members for their support in obtaining the new route last October. DOT selected the daily service between Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C., and Beijing Capital International Airport over proposals from American, Continental and Northwest airlines. Based on a codeshare agreement with United, US Airways customers also will have access to the China market via this new flight.
Washington, D.C., was the largest U.S. metro area without service to China, while 28 leading world capitals have non-stop service to Beijing. Washington, D.C., has the largest Chinese population of any U.S. city without non-stop service.
For more information on the benefits of the United’s Corporate Partnership with NTA, click here.
The March 2007 issue of Courier includes our annual Tour Operator Spring Meet preview. The space deadline has been extended to Jan. 17 so there is still time to get your company in front of not only our current NTA members, but to 800 prospective tour operators who will receive a copy.
Features for March are the 2007 Tour Operator Spring Meet in Kelowna, British Columbia, and Hotels, Resorts & Spas. The trip planners will highlight Toronto & Niagara Region (New York and Canada) and the Mississippi River Valley (Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee). Travel guides will feature Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.
Why should you consider advertising in Courier? … Because people read it!
"While attending a roundtable session at the Ontario Motorcoach Association annual conference in Toronto, I asked several tour operators where they suggest I advertise to reach them. A majority of them said that they get a lot of their information from several magazines, but Courier was always on their list. I have not been a past advertiser, but I will definitely be allocating funds in my upcoming budget for Courier!"
– April Bourie, Metropolitan Tucson CVB, Tucson, Arizona
For more information or to reserve your space, get in touch with your account executive today by calling 800.682.8886, ext. 4232 (U.S. and Canada) or 859.226.4232 or e-mailing advertising@NTA.travel. To view information on other upcoming issues, click here.