December 20, 2005
Tuesday Newsletter December 20, 2005
December 20, 2005: Volume 25; Issue 43
The NTA Board of Directors and staff would like to wish you a joyous and peace-filled holiday season and thank you for all you’ve done for the association in 2005. We are happy you are a part of the NTA family and look forward to working with you to make the coming year even better.
And speaking of the new year, this issue of Tuesday will be the final one in 2005, as one will not be sent Dec. 27. Tuesday will return to its weekly schedule Jan. 3, 2006.
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s announcement that it raised its small business size standards is of note for many NTA members. As of Dec. 5, the SBA increased the familiar "anchor" size standard from $6 million to $6.5 million, meaning that tour operators’ eligibility limits for SBA guaranteed loans is a half million higher.
The increase was pushed through partly to help the pressing needs of many small businesses affected by the hurricanes of 2005. Now, businesses located in disaster areas should have an easier time with the Economic Injury Disaster Loan application process.
The change also accounts for inflation and could restore small business eligibility to those firms that may have lost their small business status the past few years. The SBA has adjusted its standards, which are based on receipts, net worth and financial assets, to reflect inflation that has occurred since February 2002.
In 1993, the last time the loan amount was raised, NTA played a key role in increasing the tour operator limit from $3 million to $6 million.
Momentum continues to build as the ".travel" initiative moves into the implementation phase. Major travel brands, including Expedia, British Airways, Carnival Cruise Lines, Disney Cruise Lines, Hilton Hotels, Fairmont Hotels, Thomas Cook, TUI, Marriott Hotels & Resorts and Disney World are among numerous companies that have registered for ".travel" domain names through the Tralliance Corporation.
The recognition by these types of global firms lends credibility to both the importance and integrity of the top-level ".travel" domain name program. Besides having to be pre-authenticated, which prevents just anyone from buying a corporate domain name and then reselling it to that company for a higher price, travel businesses associated with ".travel" will be part of a universal framework used to present the travel industry to consumers around the globe.
Tralliance’s CEO and President Ron Andruff said he foresees ".travel" becoming, "the Internet equivalent of the ‘Good Housekeeping’ stamp of approval" in the next three to five years and will further solidify companies using ".travel" names as trustworthy industry leaders.
For more information on ".travel," click here.
A partnership between NTA, the American Society of Travel Agents and the Business Travel Coalition recently achieved a legislative victory with the passage of Sen. Conrad Burns’ Amendment No. 2103 to the Senate Transportation Appropriation bill (H.R. 3058), which President George W. Bush signed into law. The Burns’ Amendment, aimed at protecting travelers if an airline ceases operations while there are traveling, extends Section 145 of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act for one year and means that airline passengers can fly with more confidence in the coming months.
Section 145 provides that airline passengers holding tickets from a bankrupt carrier for a particular route are entitled to transportation on a space-available basis on any airline serving that route. The only stipulation is that alternative travel plans must be made within 60 days after the bankrupt airline suspends operations. Additionally, the maximum fee that an airline can charge for providing standby transportation would not exceed $50 each way.
To read more on this topic, click here.
In spite of having only 12,000 square miles of land area, Rhode Island boasts more than 400 miles of coastline and is a wonderful microcosm of everything New England. From lovely rural landscapes to lively cities, agriculture to aquaculture, Colonial America to modern art, Rhode Island is packed with group experiences waiting to be had.
To learn how Rhode Island can become your group’s next destination, join us on the first domestic NTA Product Development Trip, Rhode Island: Big Things Come in Small Packages, April 23-27, 2006. Space is limited, and you must register by March 1, 2006. The cost to tour operators is $150 per person and that 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.
NTA and the United States Tour Operators Association have been named to the 2006 Associations Advance America Honor Roll, a national awards competition sponsored by the American Society of Association Executives in Washington, D.C.
The award was given for NTA and USTOA’s role in Tourism Cares for Tomorrow’s Tourism-Caring for America project at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens, in which some 400 tourism industry representatives volunteered during National Tourism Week in May 2005. Participants assisted Mount Vernon’s horticulture staff in cleaning up the nearly 300 acres of forest severely damaged two years ago by Hurricane Isabel.
"This annual ‘giving-back’ event began in 2003 and is a perfect example of multiple associations banding together for a common cause," Tourism Cares for Tomorrow Executive Director Bruce Beckham, CTP, said. "The tourism industry deserves to be proud of its unity in this effort."
Now in its 16th year, the prestigious Associations Advance America program recognizes associations that propel America forward – with innovative projects in education, skills training, standards setting, business and social innovation, knowledge creation, citizenship and community service. Although association activities have a powerful impact on everyday life, they often go unnoticed by the general public.
As a service to our DMO members, NTA will send news releases to those that publish newsletters or believe the information would be useful to their organization. NTA distributes releases on news that matters to you – from trends in the industry to the latest governmental issues affecting your business.
Contact NTA Public Relations Specialist Sara Morton via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 800-682-8886, ext. 4418 (U.S. or Canada) or 859-226-4418 if you would like to be added to our distribution list.
The January issue is packed with Annual Convention news and you’ll find all the highlights from Detroit in this post-Convention edition of Courier. Be sure to check out the back page of this issue to read one of the two winning entries in the inaugural NTA Story Contest (the second installment will be on the back page of the February issue).
Cruising is always the big story in January – and this year’s version explores themed cruises. The January Courier also offers a basic recap of how to effectively use public relations and branding in your company, as well as a Take AIM article featuring how suppliers and receptive operators can best work together. And there is something new that’s being rolled out for the new year: Going Green. It’s a department in the business section that provides information about how to be a sustainable tour company, tour supplier, travel professional, attraction or destination.
Happy holidays from Courier and NTA!
April Issue – Ad Space: Jan. 27; Editorial: Past
Historic Homes & Gardens; Student & Youth Travel; New York City; Great Lakes Loop (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Ontario & Wisconsin); Arkansas; Mexico; Oklahoma; Texas.
May Issue – Ad Space: Feb. 24; Editorial: Jan. 1
Annual Preview to Convention Issue; Beaches; Las Vegas; Asia; Iowa; Kansas; Missouri; Nebraska; Northwest Territories; Nunavut; Yukon.
June Issue – Ad Space: March 31; Editorial: Feb. 1
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.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
Alaska Travel Industry Association – Algoma Central Railway Inc. – Autry Museum of Western Heritage – Greater Birmingham CVB – Boyds Bear Country – Circle Line Sightseeing Yachts Inc. – Gold Strike Casino Resort – Gray Line of Alaska – The Liberace Museum – Maid of the Mist – Mammoth Lakes Visitors Bureau – MotorCity Casino – Norfolk CVB – Northwest Connecticut CVB – Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism – Port Arthur CVB – Primm Valley Resorts – Riverbarge Excursion Lines – Sacramento CVB – Spokane Regional CVB – Top of the Rock – Virginia Beach CVB – VisitBritain – Visit Scotland
Please click here to view the 2006 editorial calendar online.