August 29, 2006
Tuesday Newsletter August 29, 2006
Volume 26: Issue 35
|Interested in becoming a sponsor for Tuesday? Contact Karla DiNardo at karla.dinardo@NTA.travel.|
A year ago today, the United States Gulf Coast was devastated when Hurricane Katrina came inland. The storm did an unprecedented amount of damage to Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
To provide a firsthand perspective on how things are going with the recovery effort one year later, Tuesday posed a series of questions to NTA members Lisa Holland of the New Orleans Metropolitan CVB, Ron McConnell of the Mobile (Ala.) Bay CVB and Steve Richer of the Mississippi Gulf Coast CVB. While all three noted that many challenges remain, they are unified in being optimistic about the early signs of rebirth they’ve seen and about what’s ahead in the coming years. Here is a sampling of their comments:
"In terms of travel and tourism, the city is ready for visitors; it’s that simple," said Holland. "[But] we are battling a year’s worth of negative images on the nightly news and there are not enough marketing dollars in the world that can counter that. We are hopeful that the tourism industry will return to normal by early 2008."
"I was able to participate in the Tourism – Caring for America event on the Mississippi Gulf Coast," said McConnell when asked what one thing stood out to him about the past year. "The spirit and enthusiasm of the volunteers was enormous. It meant so much to my friends on the coast, and I know they will never forget those who came."
"It seems odd to say, but things are really on the up-swing for us," said Richer. "We’ve had casinos open nearly the whole time, and the others that suffered more damage are getting fixed up and are opening very soon. And, the change in legislation to allow casinos to be built on land has opened the door to growth in a way that we couldn’t have imagined."
The residual effect of the Tourism – Caring for America project was echoed in an e-mail that Tourism Cares Executive Director Bruce Beckham received from Betsy Grant, who works for Lynn Meadows Discovery Center, one of the sites that volunteers worked at in March. Grant wrote, "Today, we are reminded of all the wonderful folks who have helped us recover and rebuild our children’s museum. Our doors are open and our families are excited to return to a place that is both familiar and fun! We will always remember our tourism friends from around the country and hope many of you visit us again … just to play!"
Click here to read the full text of the interviews with Holland, McConnell and Richer.
Longtime NTA consultant Pat Smith died Aug. 27 in an airplane accident at Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Ky. Smith was on Comair Flight 5191, which took off shortly after 6 a.m. and crashed into a wooded field a few seconds later. Of the 50 people on board, only one survived, co-captain James Polehinke.
The 58-year-old Smith and his wife, Jean, previously owned Software Information Systems and were programmers of NTA’s original data management software, and also TODSII, a searchable database of tour operator data. Pat and Jean also managed the Tour & Travel Exchange appointment scheduling system and staffed the Exchange office for many years at NTA conventions.
In addition to his NTA involvement, Pat devoted a majority of his time in recent years to service through Habitat for Humanity. Smith’s efforts with Habitat resulted in his being named the organization’s international volunteer of the year in 2004. In fact, when he died, he was traveling to Gulfport, Miss., to lead a group from Kentucky on a Habitat building project to mark the one-year anniversary of Katrina.
Funeral details and memorial information were unavailable at press time.
Last Tuesday, voters in Alaska approved the hotly contested Ballot Measure 2 by a 52.1 to 47.9 margin. The measure will levy a $50 tax on all cruise passengers sailing to Alaska and subjects cruise lines to a host of new disclosures and environmental rules.
"This sets a distressing precedent for the industry nationwide," said NTA Legislative Counsel Jim Santini. "NTA will be monitoring the situation in the states for similar developments."
Other provisions of Ballot Measure 2 include adding a 33 percent tax on casino profits, imposing a corporate tax on international cruise ships and requiring tour operators to disclose their commissions. The proposal also requires ships to carry an "ocean ranger" on every cruise and would allow those who sue cruise lines to receive 50 percent of any civil fines.
The online appointment request system for the 2006 NTA Annual Convention is available. While the deadline to submit your requests is not until Sept. 19, don’t wait to begin formulating your list. By using the search features and online profiles, you can research potential business partners and add appropriate companies to your request list. Putting together the best request list possible takes time and effort, so be sure to plan accordingly.
Click here to log on and begin making your requests – you’ll need your registration number to access the system. Remember to check back from time to time to update your selections. Want more information? E-mail your Member Service Department at questions@NTA.travel.
While business is the cornerstone of Annual Convention, NTA just wouldn’t be NTA without some top-notch entertainment and speakers.
- Compliments of Holiday Inn, the week kicks off during lunch on Friday with a special performance by up-and-coming country music singer Trent Willmon.
- Be inspired by adventurer and writer Jamie Clarke as he recounts his journeys up Mt. Everest and through Arabia’s Empty Quarter during the Saturday Luncheon.
- Enjoy lunch and some bi-partisan laughs courtesy of "Mr. President" Steve Bridges during the Issues Luncheon fundraiser on Sunday. This GIF fundraiser is sponsored by Little Rock CVB/Destination Arkansas with co-sponsor Motor Coach Industries.
- Theatre Direct and I Love NY Vacations will deliver another high-powered show as the best of Broadway performs in Salt Lake – just for NTA!
- End the week with a private concert by the world-renown Mormon Tabernacle Choir, which will perform before the Final Night Gala, sponsored by the Salt Lake CVB.
Better Business. Better Be There.
How can you better prepare yourself for NTA’s Convention in Salt Lake City? Whether you are a first-time Convention attendee or just want a Convention refresher, you’ll want to take part in the Web seminar, "The Basics of NTA’s Convention: Maximizing Your Salt Lake City Experience," to be held Thursday, Sept. 7 at 2 p.m. (ET).
A veteran panel of presenters will discuss the 2006 Convention and explain the key points to know before you arrive in Salt Lake City. The presentation will provide you with valuable information, including an explanation of the Tour & Travel Exchange, a "how-to" on conducting business and a rundown of the networking and educational activities available. In addition, there will be plenty of time for your Convention-related questions.
To get registered for the Sept. 7 seminar, click here. Questions about the seminar itself should be e-mailed to Andrea Richardson at andrea.richardson@NTA.travel, or you can call her at 800.682.8886, ext. 5019 (U.S. and Canada) or 859.425.5019.
If your schedule does not permit you to take part in the Web seminar, NTA will have a recorded version available on NTA.travel approximately one week after the session, which you can access at your leisure.
Logan International Airport is closing one of its four main jet runways on weekends now through October for resurfacing. The runway closings, which started over the weekend, last from 10 p.m. Friday through 6 a.m. Monday each weekend through Oct. 25, and could cause slight delays for travelers arriving and departing on Saturdays and Sundays.
The runway involved is called alternately 22 Left or 4 Right depending on which direction planes are taking off from and landing on it. It’s 10,005 feet long and runs from southwest to northeast. Additionally, the airport expects to open a 5,000-foot runway later this year on the south side of Logan to help reduce delays.
For more information, go to the Massachusetts Port Authority’s Web site.
NTA Product Development Trips are a one-stop shop for tour operators who want to expand their catalog offerings. The trips are designed to include both a Fam tour of the featured destination and a post-tour workshop, so operators can meet with local suppliers. NTA offers both North American and international product development trips to tour operators. Currently, trips are scheduled to Oregon in September and the Georgia Coast in December.
Suppliers and DMOs also can reap the benefits of Product Development Trips. NTA encourages members in those categories to collaborate and prepare a proposal to host a trip to your destination. Show buyers what unique assets you have to offer.
NTA wants to help its tour operators make vacations more financially viable for clients and is teaming with GE Money to offer tour operators an exciting new product – promotional credit. Promotional credit allows tour operators a way to offer their consumers deferred interest credit options, giving travelers another source of credit so that they can afford to do more on their trip.
As part of a one-year pilot, GE is seeking five to seven tour operators who would like to test this product with their consumers. This type of credit product is already fairly commonplace in other retail markets, like furniture and large appliances; however, it is very new to travel. After a year of testing, GE and NTA will look at the success of the product, which would determine the viability of a longer-term program.
What’s in it for you?
There is a great deal of information about promotional credit and the pilot program available at NTA.travel, and operators will need their password and ID to access it. Interested operators can read more in a Frequently Asked Questions document or they can contact Lisa Nelson at lisa.nelson@NTA.travel with questions or to request a GE Money form to express interest in participating.
There is still time for you to participate in the 2006 NTA Trends Analysis Survey. Responses to the survey, which was sent out early this month, are needed by this Friday, Sept. 1. NTA strongly encourages all members to complete this survey, since the information is used to gain a better understanding of your business so NTA can serve you better.
This survey focuses on learning how your business has adapted to the changes in the industry over the last five years. Your input is vital in providing this key member benefit, allowing NTA members to quickly access research on changing market conditions and industry trends on NTA.travel.
If you have any questions about completing the survey or about the value your input brings the association, please contact NTA Industry Research Analyst Sandy Stansfield at sandy.stansfield@NTA.travel or 800.682.8886, ext. 4214 (U.S. and Canada) or 859.226.4214.
One of the ways Tourism Cares gives back is through the distribution of grants to worthy tourism-related natural, cultural and historic sites in need. Past grants have included Rickwood Field, America’s oldest baseball park, in Birmingham, Ala.; The Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust for the Robie House in Chicago, Ill.; and the Living History Farms of Urbandale, Iowa, just to name a few. Recent international grant recipients include Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa, the Corcovado Foundation in Costa Rica and the Central Balkan-Kalofer Ecotourism Association in Bulgaria.
Your generous support will help Tourism Cares continue this most important aspect of its mission. One way you can help is by signing up for Nevada Rocks for Tomorrow at the NTA Convention. Another way is to donate a package or tangible item to the NTA Auction. Your contribution to these annual Tourism Cares/NTA events will not only promote your product or destination to Convention attendees, they will show your organization’s desire to help with the cause.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more about how you can help, please contact Natalie King at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 781.821.5990.
Courier’s September issue is filled with member voices. Phil Sheldon, president and owner of Hanns Ebensten Travel and Alyson Adventures reflects on industry changes since 9/11 in his end-page essay. Other members contributed to our business section report about the industry’s new normal – post 9/11 travel trends that are here to stay. Jason Lyon of the Boston Symphony Orchestra/Boston Pops discusses cultural travel in our interview with him. "Despite the fact that instant information and five-second sound bites seem so prevalent in our society, packaged travelers are taking a different route," he says. Dawn Rueckl with Wells Grey Tours in Kamloops, British Columbia, describes how Convention led to a dramatic change in her company in her essay, "More than Appointments." Read what tour operators, DMOs and suppliers have to say about new trends and product for packaging museums as well as rail travel, and read about fresh offerings in Alaska, Western Canada, the Southwest, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
December Issue – Tour Operator Spring Meet – Ad Space: Sept. 27; Editorial: Past
Tour Operator Spring Meet Preview Issue; Military History; The Rockies (Alberta, British Columbia, Colorado, Idaho, Montana & Utah); Smoky Mountains (Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge); Alabama; Florida; Louisiana; Mississippi.
January Issue – Post-Convention – Ad Space: Oct. 27; Editorial: Sept. 1
2006 Convention Coverage; Cruising: Overnight/Daytrips; Antebellum South (Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina & Tennessee); British Isles & Ireland; Alaska; British Columbia; California; Hawaii; Nevada; Oregon; Washington.
February Issue – Ad space: Nov. 20; Editorial: Oct. 1
Casinos/Gaming; Ecotourism; Atlantic Coast (Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina & Virginia); Continental Europe; Alberta; Manitoba & Saskatchewan; Idaho; Montana; North Dakota; South Dakota; Wyoming.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
Autry National Center – The Berkely Group (TPP) – Beverly Garland’s Holiday Inn/Universal City – Greater Birmingham CVB – Brunswick and the Golden Isles of Georgia Visitors Bureau – Coach USA – Colorado Springs CVB – FamilySearch Center/Library and Mormon Historic Sites – Gray Line of Alaska – ITS Design & Printing Inc. – Laredo CVB – Mesa CVB – Outer Banks Visitors Bureau – San Antonio CVB – Top of the Rock – Tourism Kelowna – Travel Alberta