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Tuesday Newsletter

May 23, 2006

Tuesday Newsletter May 23, 2006
Volume 26: Issue 21

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Today’s Headlines
  • U.S. Senate Passes Passport Initiative Deadline Extension
  • NTA Convention: Join Us "On Location" in Salt Lake
  • Chicago’s Dan Ryan Expressway Undergoing Construction
  • Benefit Basics: From Avian Flu to Gas Prices, NTA Keeps You Informed
  • Impact of Higher Gasoline Prices Detailed
  • The Trend: Your Research Information Source
  • Tourism Cares for Tomorrow Awards More Scholarships
  • NTA Family News: Remembering Tom Little
  • Up Your Visibility in Salt Lake Through Convention Daily

    U.S. Senate Passes Passport Initiative Deadline Extension

    Last week the U.S. Senate passed by voice vote an amendment to the immigration bill that would extend the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative – also known as the passport issue – by 18 months.

    Currently, the WHTI is scheduled to be implemented in two stages, with the passport requirements for air and sea travel taking effect Dec. 31, 2006, and the land border crossing portion taking effect Dec. 31, 2007. The Stevens-Leahy Amendment seeks to delay implementation until June 2009 by simply amending Section 7209(b)(1) of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act to read "June 1, 2009," instead of "Jan. 1, 2008."

    "The National Tour Association is pleased with this development, however there is still more to be done," NTA President Hank Phillips, CTP, said. "A delay gives the government time to fix what needs to be fixed. If the delay does not result in changes, though, then little has been accomplished."

    Such changes include those outlined in Sen. Norm Coleman’s (R-MN) proposed legislation, which would not only extend the deadline, but also do the following:

      1. Set a ceiling of $20 for "passport (PASS) cards."
      2. Waive fees for a PASS card for those under 18.
      3. Establish a system of 72-hour passes for Americans crossing the northern land border who certify that they were unable to apply in advance for passport cards.

    Sen. Coleman is attempting to get other senators to sign on or "co-sponsor" this legislation before he submits it to the floor. Therefore, NTA is asking its U.S.-based members to contact their two senators and encourage them to co-sponsor the "Coleman Amendment to S.2611." To get contact information for senators, please click here, or to see a sample letter that can be used to contact senators, click here.

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    NTA Convention: Join Us "On Location" in Salt Lake

    Registration for the 2006 NTA Annual Convention opened last Tuesday. The Convention Web site is your one-stop shop for all information related to Convention. Have you taken time to make your reservation yet?

    • Get registered: Sign up to join us in Salt Lake. More than 1,000 delegates sent in their registration forms the first week, and you won’t want to miss the 2006 Convention. Don’t delay – tour suppliers and DMOs should register early for a spot in the Tour & Travel Exchange®.
    • Reserve your housing: Don’t wait to make your reservation, as being in the Convention block will help keep you updated and connected to Convention happenings.
    • Mark your calendar: Delegates who plan to participate in the Tour & Travel Exchange should expect to make their appointment requests beginning July 19. Click here for more information on NTA’s one and only Tour & Travel Exchange.

    Have questions about Convention? Feel free to contact your Member Services team at 800.682.8886 (U.S. and Canada) or 859.226.4444. You can also send your question via e-mail to

    Better Business. Better Be There.

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    Chicago’s Dan Ryan Expressway Undergoing Construction

    The Illinois Department of Transportation is reconstructing the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago between 13th Street and the Interstate 57 interchange. The $600-million construction project to modernize the Dan Ryan – a road that includes the merged interstates 90 and 94 in the Chicagoland area – will include adding a lane in each direction to reduce congestion, a reconfigured skyway interchange and enhancements to the local access roads that run parallel to the expressway. IDOT will also install collector sewers to eliminate flooding and improve safety.

    Below are suggestions from the Chicago Department of Transportation on how to minimize the impact of the project on travel groups:

  • Heavy vehicles (including motorcoaches) should stay on the Dan Ryan Expressway.
  • Passenger vehicles should use the suggested alternate routes and/or public transportation.
  • Consider adjusting your schedule to avoid the area during morning and afternoon peak travel times.

    With the project slated to last through the fall of 2007, the best place to turn for the latest updates is Also, if you want to receive weekly e-mail alerts on the progress, click here.

    If any NTA members have information on similar long-term construction projects in their area, please contact NTA Communications Specialist Pat Henderson via e-mail or by calling 800.682.8886, ext. 4425 (U.S. and Canada) or 859.226.4425.

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    Benefit Basics: From Avian Flu to Gas Prices, NTA Keeps You Informed

    The travel industry is largely affected by economic, security and societal issues. As such, NTA understands the importance of keeping you informed on these and other topics impacting the travel industry and your business. Here are some examples of what NTA has done lately to make you aware of news that matters.

    Recently, the threat of avian flu has been in the forefront of media outlets. NTA has joined the Tourism Emergency Response Network, which aims to keep the public informed and industry prepared in the event of an outbreak. You can find information about the threat on NTA’s Web site under "What’s New."

    Another hot issue these days is rising fuel prices. NTA recently created two hometown news releases as tools for promoting packaged travel; one for tour operators and one for suppliers and DMOs, which can be personalized and sent to targeted media. For more information on the impact of gas prices on travel, see the related article below.

    From government relations issues to the latest travel trends, NTA is on top of it. Be sure to read Tuesday for future updates about information related to issues affecting the industry. NTA prides itself on being your greatest resource for industry-related information and the industry’s mouthpiece on important issues.

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    Impact of Higher Gasoline Prices Detailed

    According to the Travel Industry Association, the impact of the high cost of gasoline in the United States has implications beyond the estimated $30-$50 more that consumers will spend on gas on their vacations. Survey data indicates that the higher gas prices are forcing travelers to look at other ways to economize, while still being able to go on vacation this summer.

    Some of the significant survey findings include:


  • When asked specifically about ways they might cut back, consumers said they would look to economize on food purchases (52 percent), followed in order by accommodations, activities and additional transportation costs.
  • 31 percent are looking for what they perceive to be more economical destinations
  • 22 percent of those polled said they will shorten their trip

    For more information on the survey, visit

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    The Trend: Your Research Information Source

    Information is one of the top commodities for business professionals in today’s world. In fact, a recent survey showed that the hours today’s professionals spend searching for information can equal as much as $1,000 per week in time used. Particularly in an industry like travel, you must stay abreast of changes in consumer demographics, emerging industry and product trends, the latest technology and more in order to stay on top.

    NTA helps keep its members informed through its research-based e-newsletter, The Trend. Your association is scouring industry and consumer Web sites and publications – not to mention firsthand information on packaged travel from the Leisure Travel Monitor – so you don’t have to.

    By subscribing to The Trend for only $120 per year, you will get a wealth of information on consumer buying patterns and attitudes, how baby boomers are changing the face of travel, new trends in the industry, international inbound and outbound travel statistics and much more.

    To get this valuable information in your inbox every month, contact Sandy Stansfield at The May issue goes out soon and, by subscribing today, and you’ll also have access to the first four issues of 2006.

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    Tourism Cares for Tomorrow Awards More Scholarships

    Providing financial support and educational opportunities for tourism and travel students are high priorities for Tourism Cares for Tomorrow. Accordingly, Tourism Cares recently awarded its 2006 academic scholarships – totaling a record $58,000 – to 37 deserving tourism and travel students.

    These scholarship recipients will be invited to attend the NTA Annual Convention in Salt Lake City, Nov. 3 – 7. At the Convention, students will take part in pro-am activities and gain knowledge from, and interact with, the best in the business.

    Stay informed on the opportunities that Tourism Cares provides by visiting often. Next year’s scholarship applications will be posted on the site during the first quarter of 2007.

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    NTA Family News: Remembering Tom Little

    Tom Little, of VIA Rail Canada, passed away May 20 at Mount Sinai Hospital in Montreal at age 52. Little had surgery in early February to remove a brain tumor, and rallied for a while, but his health had declined rapidly the past two weeks.

    He spent all 30 years of his professional life with Via Rail, starting as a red cap in the Ottawa station, then moving up to ticket agent. He worked his way through the ranks at Via Rail and was named the manager of market development for U.S. markets in 1990, a position he held until his passing.

    The funeral will be held near Ottawa, close to the home of Little’s parents, Friday, May 26. In Montreal, Tuesday, May 30, many of Little’s friends and co-workers will gather at his favorite place, Restaurant Mesa 14 (located at 14 Bishop Road, 514.284.0344), and salute their friend in the tradition that he would have wanted. Little left final instructions that anyone wishing to send a remembrance should do so by donating to the charity of their choice.

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    Up Your Visibility in Salt Lake Through Convention Daily

    Annual Convention registration is underway and that means it’s time to think about promoting your company to the thousands of NTA members that will head to Salt Lake City. One way your exposure at the Convention can be maximized is through advertising in Convention Daily.

    This high-quality, four-color newsletter is the Convention-goers best friend, highlighting all the day’s activities and passing along valuable information. By placing a 1/6 to full-page ad, you guarantee that your message will be in front of your fellow NTA members first thing each morning.

    Packages for advertising include three- or five-day plans, so you have the opportunity to display up to five different ads throughout Convention. Use this valuable space to promote your special, a giveaway or to draw attention to your booth.

    Your account executives can work with you to make sure you get ultimate promotional visibility at Convention. Call 800.682.8886, ext. 4238 (U.S. and Canada) or 859.226.4238 or e-mail for rates and additional information.

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