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Tuesday Newsletter

February 28, 2006

Tuesday Newsletter, February 28, 2006
Volume 26: Issue 9

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

Today’s Headlines
  • DMO Tracking a Front-Burner Issue
  • Benefit Basics: Profit from Product Development Trips
  • National Park Service Fee Guidelines Now Include Notification Clause
  • Bus Bank Donates Coach for Tourism-Caring for America Project
  • Tour Operators: Sample Tastes of Kentucky at Icebreaker
  • Product Development Trip Deadline is March 1
  • Santini on Travel Talk Radio
  • Remembering Mike Withey
  • March Courier Preview
  • Don’t Take Our Word for It, Take Theirs …

    DMO Tracking a Front-Burner Issue

    There has been some good dialogue taking place on the NTA member forums this month regarding the importance of tracking for DMOs and how tour operators can help with this process. While this isn’t a new issue, it is a critical one that not only DMOs, but all members, need to pay attention to, according to Katherine Setness, CEO/Owner of Setness Tours in Stockton, Calif.

    In a forum post, Setness wrote, "Destination marketing organizations are under extreme pressure to provide concrete numbers to those who fund them. When they are not able to provide these numbers, their budgets are being cut. I rely heavily on DMOs in tour planning and assistance. It is clearly in my best interest to keep them healthy and serving the tour operator community."

    Setness also suggests that tour operators "come to Spring Meet to talk about this subject at the Thursday Crackerbarrel and during the meet, in general." Spring Meet, which will be held in Louisville, Ky., March 22-25, is a great place to share ideas and make your voice heard on this and other important industry issues.

    Mark Hoffmann, CTP, who is a member of NTA’s Task Force on Tracking, noted that DMO tracking is the main action item the task force is working on in 2006. In his posting he wrote, "We have agreed to assist an educational group that is willing to help us gather a month’s worth of (tracking) information from a group of tour operators … a benchmark of sorts. The next step will be to get a group of operators who will agree to share certain info with DMOs about their tours for a designated period of time."

    You can read more of this discussion, or add your thoughts, by logging on to the member forums. Go to the "General Discussion" folder and then click on "Tracking Crisis." You will need your individual ID and password to log on.

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    Benefit Basics: Profit from Product Development Trips

    NTA’s 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 domestic and international Product Development Trips to tour operators. Currently, trips are scheduled to Rhode Island in April and Virginia in June.

    Suppliers and DMOs also can reap the benefits of Product Development Trips. NTA encourages suppliers and DMOs to collaborate and prepare a proposal to host a trip in your state, province or country. Show buyers what unique assets your destination has to offer. Guidelines and requirements to host a Product Development Trip are available on NTA Online. For additional information, contact Dawn Pettus at

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    National Park Service Fee Guidelines Now Include Notification Clause

    The National Park Service has announced notification guidelines for its entrance fee program. Due to NTA’s diligent efforts and work with park officials, the new plan specifically stipulates that "commercial tour operators must be given one year notice of any fee rate changes that affect them. Superintendents should be mindful of the implementation date to allow for proper notification."

    NTA has continually advocated for equitable and reasonable entrance/user fees to ensure that all visitors, whether traveling individually or with a tour group, will have equal access to the national parks. The new fee program guidelines have put into writing the "gentleman’s agreement" NTA and NPS have had for many years that tour operators should be notified at least 12 months prior to a fee increase.

    NTA will continue to work with NPS to clarify the proposed group entrance fee increases for 2007. In the meantime, member questions and suggestions are welcomed by NTA on this vital issue of doing business with the national parks. Comments can be sent to NTA Government and Industry Relations Director Matt Grayson at

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    Bus Bank Donates Coach for Tourism-Caring for America Project

    The Bus Bank, the largest network of certified charter operators in North America, has donated a motorcoach to take volunteers who wish to attend the Tourism-Caring for America cleanup project in the Mississippi Gulf Coast area March 16-19. This complimentary transportation is open on a first-come, first-serve basis and will depart from the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville.

    Since the motorcoach will leave the Gaylord Opryland very early on Thursday, March 16, overnight accommodations are available for the night of March 15 at the hotel for a special rate of $49 plus tax (valet parking is complimentary). For further information on this great offer, click here, or to learn more about the Tourism-Caring for America project, click here.

    Tourism Cares for Tomorrow wants to extend a special thanks to the Bus Bank for this generous offer.

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    Tour Operators: Sample Tastes of Kentucky at Icebreaker

    Spring Meet delegates will get a taste of traditional Kentucky fare at the Icebreaker, which will be held on Wednesday, March 22, as a kick off to the 2006 NTA Tour Operator Spring Meet in Louisville, Ky. The reception-style event will be held at The Kentucky Derby Museum and Churchill Downs, as the two venues will be our gracious hosts for the evening affair.

    Begin the evening by sampling some of Kentucky’s favorite culinary treats including hot browns and burgoo. Following dinner at the museum, guests can peruse the world’s largest equine museum and watch "The Greatest Race," which places the viewer in the center of Derby Day action. Afterward, delegates will be escorted to Churchill Downs, home to the first leg of horse racing’s prestigious Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby. The evening will conclude with dessert and drinks, accompanied by the cool tunes of a jazz trio.

    Click here for more information on the NTA Tour Operator Spring Meet, to be held March 22-25.

    Spring Meet – it’s all about you!

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    Product Development Trip Deadline is March 1

    As with any visit to a new area, it’s important to know the language. And Rhode Island is no exception. Considering guests will hear an accent that’s somewhere between "de Bronx and Baahstan," communication can be a challenge at times. We offer the following guide to prepare you for your visit to Rhode Island on the NTA Product Development Trip. (All translations authored by Mark Patinkin, excerpted from "The Rhode Island Dictionary" copyright 2002)

    Lesson #2 – Floating Rs
    Example: Linder, I have an ideer. Let’s pahk the cahs ova th’ea.
    Translation: Linda, I have an idea. Let’s park the cars over there.

    Remember Rhode Islander’s take the Rs out of most words, but then tack them on to the end of many words ending normally with a vowel. Gotta use ’em someplace, right? So, we eat pizzer, our beaches are called the "shaw," and we reti-ah in Flahrider.

    Don’t worry tour operators, we’ll have lots of people to help you translate on the Product Development Trip, but you must register by March 1. Sign up now for the tour, which takes place April 23-27, so you can speak with the locals yourself! The cost is $150, which includes lodging, sightseeing and most meals.

    In compliance with NTA guidelines, only one full-time employee per company may attend and guests/spouses are not permitted. For more information on the trip, click here, or contact Katrina White by calling 401.222.2601, ext. 150, or e-mailing her at

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    Santini on Travel Talk Radio

    NTA Legislative Counsel Jim Santini joined host Sandy Dhuyvetter on Travel Talk Radio, Sunday, Feb. 26. The two spoke about the need for the travel and tourism industry to have a united voice in Washington, D.C., in relation to dealing with concerns such as the passport requirements of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

    In addition to Santini, who served four terms in the United States Congress as the only member of the House of Representatives from Nevada, the show also included a segment with Tourism Cares for Tomorrow Executive Director Bruce Beckham, CTP, and Nevada Commission on Tourism Director Bruce Bommarito.

    To listen to the interviews, visit the Travel Talk Archives or link directly to the MP3 files by clicking here.

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    Remembering Mike Withey

    Mike Withey of New Horizons Tour & Travel Inc., in Jackson Mich., passed away Friday, Feb. 24.

    Withey had worked at New Horizons for 19 years and most recently served as the company’s vice president of sales. He attended NTA’s Annual Convention many times and was New Horizons President Kathy LeTarte’s first representative to go to the event on behalf of the company.

    The funeral was held Monday, Feb. 27, in Williamston, Mich., and the family has asked that expressions of sympathy and memorials be sent to Memorial Lutheran Church, 1022 West Grand River, Williamston, MI 48895. Please make sure to mark them in memory of Mike Withey.

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    March Courier Preview

    Your March Courier provides a preview of the Tour Operator Spring Meet in Louisville, Ky. The meet offers operators the chance to visit three of Kentucky’s most historic attractions – the Muhammad Ali Center, Kentucky Derby Museum and Churchill Downs. The Going Green department of Courier offers a taste of one of the seminars you’ll be able to select in Louisville: "Goodness Sells: The Benefits of Practicing Sustainable Tourism." In other business articles, learn how The Berkely Group customizes insurance for NTA; how you can host or participate in a Product Development Trip; how Maine and New Brunswick benefit from a progressive new partnership; and how members of the Self-Guided Independent Travel AIM are meeting FIT challenges.


    June Issue – Ad Space: March 31; Editorial: Past
    Native American, First Nations and Western Heritage; Active Adventure Travel; Canadian Maritimes & Quebec (New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island & Quebec); Gulf Coast (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi & Texas); Maryland/D.C.; Pennsylvania; Virginia.

    July Issue – Ad Space: May 1; Editorial: March 1
    Music Destinations; Zoos & Aquariums; Coastal California & Baja; Classic New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island & Vermont); Kentucky; Ohio; Tennessee; West Virginia.

    August Issue – Ad Space: May 29; Editorial: April 1
    Theatres; Lewis & Clark Trail; Atlantic City; Latin America; Illinois; Indiana; Michigan; Minnesota; Ontario; Wisconsin.

    Algoma Central Railway Inc.Autry National CenterThe Berkely Group (TPP)Greater Birmingham CVBCircle Line Sightseeing Yachts Inc.Coach USA Collier County CVB Colorado Springs CVB FamilySearch Center Foxwoods Resort CasinoGaylord Opryland Resort & Attractions George Washington University Gold Strike Casino ResortIsle of Capri Casino & HotelLandry’s Restaurants Inc.Laredo CVBThe Liberace MuseumGreater Louisville CVBMaid of the MistMenopause The MusicalMohegan SunNiagara Parks, Restaurants & AttractionsNorfolk CVBPaymentech Merchant Services Pigeon Forge Department of TourismRiverbarge Excursion LinesSacramento CVBSalt Lake City CVBTop of the RockTurning Stone CasinoUtah Olympic ParkWalt Disney Theatrical ProductionsWilliamsburg Hotel Associates

    Please click here to view the 2006 editorial calendar online.

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    Don’t Take Our Word for It, Take Theirs …

    Sponsoring with NTA is one of the best ways to stand out from your competition and create extra networking opportunities with tour operators. Don’t take our word for it, take theirs …

    "The Spring Meet sponsorships allow me to get to know the tour operators in a less formal environment. Unlike the pressure of having to sell at NTA Annual Convention, the Spring Meet provides a casual atmosphere amidst the educational and social functions. There, I learn more about the way the tour operators do business and what concerns they face. It makes me better at what I do."
    – Theresa Kyzer, Little Rock CVB, sponsor of the Friday General Session

    Choose to stand out in the tour and travel industry by sponsoring at the 2006 NTA Tour Operator Spring Meet. The event is only for tour operators, but if suppliers and DMOs are sponsors, they can attend, too. Limited sponsorships are available, and, for more information, you can contact Karla DiNardo via e-mail or by calling 800.682.8886, ext. 4232 (U.S. and Canada) or 859.226.4232.

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