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Tuesday Newsletter

April 4, 2006

Tuesday Newsletter, April 4, 2006
Volume 26: Issue 14

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
Interested in becoming a sponsor for Tuesday? Contact Karla DiNardo at

Today’s Headlines
  • Tour Operators: DMO Tracking Survey on the Way
  • Members Say NTA Spring Meet a Success
  • NTA Supports Proposed "Common Sense" Changes to Passport Initiative
  • Benefit Basics: AIM Program Offers Niche Partnering Options
  • Tour Operators: Don’t Miss Out on Tour20 Groups
  • Bringing Attention to the Mississippi Gulf Coast
  • Sturrup Wins Free Convention Registration
  • Join Us at the Pow Wow Brunch for Females in Travel
  • NTA Family News: Ann Thomas Named Carson City Mentor of the Year
  • Convention Sponsorships Can Up Your Profile

    Tour Operators: DMO Tracking Survey on the Way

    All NTA tour operators will be receiving a Web survey from a group of students at George Washington University Wednesday, April 5. These students have volunteered their time to assist with the first test survey designed to help collect much-needed DMO tracking information.

    The survey is an effort to gather data that will help DMOs as they seek critical information to prove the return on investment of the packaged traveler and the volume their destination receives from NTA tour operators. It came about thanks to the NTA Tracking Task Force, which has been working with George Washington students to develop the survey.

    Operators will be asked four questions about each individual destination they packaged to in October 2005. Since this is the first attempt at gathering tracking information for DMOs, operators also are encouraged to provide NTA with feedback at the end of the survey. If you have any thoughts or questions on the DMO tracking survey, you can contact Lisa Nelson at

    The tracking issue received a lot of attention at the recent Tour Operator Spring Meet and has been widely discussed on the NTA member forums. To read the forum postings, click here, then go to the "General Discussion" folder and click on "Tracking Crisis." (You will need your individual ID and password to log on.)

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    Members Say NTA Spring Meet a Success

    From the tour operator speed dating and roundtable discussion sessions, to the educational seminars and the evening events, the 2006 Tour Operator Spring Meet received high praise from those in attendance. Here is a sampling of some of the comments your fellow NTA members made about this year’s Spring Meet and its host city, Louisville, Ky.:

  • "I found (Spring Meet) a great environment to learn and do business in. It allows you to take a step back from your own business and focus on what you can do to improve it, with no pressure or hassles. Plus, you are surrounded by such warm people." – Corey Marshall, CTP, of Anderson Vacations


  • "I attend a lot of industry events, but I have to say that others aren’t like this one. The atmosphere was very friendly and relaxed and, as a newcomer, it did not intimidate me to be there. In addition, the seminars were well organized and the topics chosen could only add to our experience and knowledge." – Merehani Parker of Tahiti Nui Travel


  • "It was my first time visiting Louisville, and I very much enjoyed the city and my time at the NTA Spring Meet. I liked the intimate and informal setting and the many networking opportunities. I was glad to see that NTA opened this event to the receptive operator." – Erika Elisabeth of New York Visions Travel Group/Harlem Spirituals Gospel Jazz Tours


  • "I came away from it brimming with optimism and a number of ideas. The speed-dating session was an effective way to become quickly introduced to a number of other tour operators, and I found it quite useful." – Darla Dench of Julian Tours


  • "The 2006 Spring Meet was well attended and a great opportunity to renew business contacts and forge new relationships. Having access to tour operators uninterrupted by legions of other sponsors is by far the best opportunity Spring Meet offers me. Tour operators are truly appreciative of sponsors, and it is easy to get that elusive face time with these key clients." – Jackie Williams of the San Diego CVB


  • "As a first timer, the Spring Meet provided a great opportunity to meet and get to know my colleagues in a friendly atmosphere. Compared to other international shows, this one had the right size. It had enough people to make it interesting and it was not so big that you get lost in the crowd." – Jorge Cazenave of Cazenave Argentina

    Click here to read more Spring Meet highlights. Also, mark your calendars for next year’s NTA Tour Operator Spring Meet in Kelowna, B.C., April 26-28, 2007.

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    NTA Supports Proposed "Common Sense" Changes to Passport Initiative

    Last week, Senator Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) announced that he will be submitting an amendment to immigration-related legislation that would greatly benefit cross-border travel. The amendment would soften the requirements of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which requires a passport or other approved documentation, like the "PASS" card, for travel to and from the United States and Canada.

    Research conducted by the travel industry shows that U.S.-Canadian travel would be harmed significantly if this law remains in force as written. But, Sen. Dorgan’s amendment, titled the "Common Sense Cross Border Travel and Security Act of 2006," seeks to address some of those concerns. It includes the following provisions, which maintains border safety and security while also benefiting the traveling public:

  • It exempts children under the age of 18 from the WHTI’s passport requirement
  • It sets a ceiling of $20 for the proposed "PASS" card
  • It establishes a system of free "day passes" for Americans crossing the U.S./Canadian land border who certify that they were unable to apply in advance for passport cards

    "Senator Dorgan is to be commended for his practical, common sense proposals regarding the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative," NTA Legislative Counsel Jim Santini said. "His legislation is very consistent with positions taken by NTA since the onset."

    For more information on this key issue, click here, or contact NTA’s Director of Industry and Government Relations Matt Grayson by calling 800.682.8886, ext. 4250 (U.S. and Canada) or 859.226.4250.

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    Benefit Basics: AIM Program Offers Niche Partnering Options

    Have you signed up for NTA’s Areas of Interest and Marketing (AIM) program? The program was born to connect members that work in similar niches. The AIM program consists of the following six categories, each focusing on a specific market in the travel industry:

  • Active & Adventure Travel
  • Affinity & Custom Group Travel
  • Cultural & Life Enrichment Travel
  • Receptive Services Travel
  • Self-Guided & Independent Travel
  • Student & Youth Travel

    Last week, tour operator members received a survey, asking them to identify AIM categories in which they are interested and indicate whether they are a business member or a learning member. After all of the information has been gathered, AIM rosters will be posted for each category that will help members identify which tour companies are focusing on various kinds of product. These rosters can be used to find resources and business partners.

    Tour suppliers and DMOs are also encouraged to let us know which areas they are involved in. Do you cater to students? Do you have strong ties to history and heritage? If so, click here to access a sign up sheet, because suppliers and DMOs also will be added to the AIM rosters so tour operators can locate supplier partners that cater to their market niche.

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    Tour Operators: Don’t Miss Out on Tour20 Groups

    One of the hottest topics at the Tour Operator Spring Meet in Louisville was the new Tour20 Groups. The groups, designed to help tour operators identify financial benchmarks that can assist in the creation a more profitable business, were introduced in the Feb. 14 issue of Tuesday. The groups will be kicking off very soon, so any tour operator interested in signing up should do so by April 15.

    If you would like more information about the Tour20 Group, an FAQ page has been developed to answer your questions. To sign up, please complete the registration form and fax it to Lisa Nelson at 859.226.4404. If you have further questions about the Tour20 Groups, please e-mail her at

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    Bringing Attention to the Mississippi Gulf Coast

    The recent Tourism Cares for Tomorrow cleanup project that lured more than 300 travel professionals, including many NTA members, to aid their friends and colleagues on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi had an additional goal besides providing physical assistance.

    "The overriding goal of this particular Tourism – Caring for America event was to bring national attention to an area that had hardly been touched seven months after Hurricane Katrina hit," Bruce Beckham, CTP, executive director of Tourism Cares said. "That goal has been reached and continues to be exceeded."

    To date, the event has been mentioned in the press more than 100 times. Many local and regional television stations from coast-to-coast included it in recent news coverage and, most importantly, this media coverage has brought the Mississippi Gulf Coast to the attention of the nation.

    Beckham said, "The tourism industry showed up and provided the labor and the caring. Thankfully, the media recognized both and they’re telling the world."

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    Sturrup Wins Free Convention Registration

    Edward Sturrup of Tour Trends in Plymouth, Mass., won a complimentary registration for the 2006 NTA Annual Convention in Salt Lake City. Each tour operator who pre-registered for the Tour & Travel Exchange® during last month’s Spring Meet in Louisville, Ky., was entered in a drawing for a free registration.

    Online registration for the 2006 NTA Annual Convention, to be held Nov. 3-7, opens for all member categories May 16 at For more information on registration fees click here or to read about the updated Exchange schedule, click here.

    Better Business. Better Be There.

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    Join Us at the Pow Wow Brunch for Females in Travel

    As Spring progresses, the days get longer, the swallows return to Capistrano and the annual FIT (Females in Tourism) Brunch will be held on Sunday just prior to the start of TIA’s International Pow Wow. Now in its 15th year, the annual brunch is scheduled for May 7 at 11 a.m. at the Café TuTu Tango in Orlando (less than a mile from the Convention Center).

    Sharon Gaiptman, CTP, director of marketing for NTA member Alaska Discovery, began the brunch after attending her first Pow Wow in 1991. According to Gaiptman, the FIT Brunch enables women from all over the globe in every facet of tourism to not only reconnect with their friends and acquaintances, but also to make new contacts.

    "It’s the perfect networking opportunity – meeting and eating! And it’s extremely inclusive – no secret handshakes, special ribbons or formal initiations," says Gaiptman. "Just let me know you’re coming, pop the check ($60 per person, inclusive) in the mail and plan to be there that Sunday!"

    For more information (and the menu) for the 15th Annual FIT PowWow Brunch, contact Gaiptman at or by calling 907.321.0751.

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    NTA Family News: Ann Thomas Named Carson City Mentor of the Year

    Congratulations go to Ann Thomas, CTP, last year’s NTA Chairman and CEO, who was recognized last week as the Mentor of the Year for the Boys and Girls Club of Carson City, Nev.

    The Western Discovery president began participating in the mentoring program four years ago when she was paired with an 8-year-old, Brianne, who was so withdrawn that she would not talk in class or to anyone – not even to Thomas for the first two months or so. Since then, Thomas said that Brianne has grown into a charming pre-teen and "we do lots of things together such as going to the movies, shopping, reading and homework."

    If you have similar news you’d like added to the Family News page at – milestone birthday/anniversary, birth of a child or some other a personal highlight – please forward it to NTA Communications Specialist Pat Henderson at and it will be posted.

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    Convention Sponsorships Can Up Your Profile

    Sponsoring a lunch at Annual Convention allows you to capture the attention of NTA tour operators in a creative way and gives you the most visibility at the industry’s premier show. Set your company or destination apart from the rest by sponsoring the Friday, Saturday or Tuesday lunch.

    Luncheon sponsorships can be shared to make it a very affordable option, while still providing you with optimum exposure to NTA’s key tour operator audience.

    Sponsorships are sold on a first-come, first-serve basis, so act quickly. Call Karla DiNardo at 800.682.8886, ext. 4232 (U.S. and Canada) or 859.226.4232 or e-mail her at to secure your lunch sponsorship today.

    Click here for a complete list of available sponsorships.

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