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Tuesday Newsletter

December 21, 2004

December 21, 2004: Volume 24; Issue 22

Articles at a Glance
Negotiations with United Airlines Lead to Important Changes CrossSphere Advocacy Key to Creation of Tourism Office in Department of Homeland Security
CrossSphere Member Spreads Holiday Cheer More CrossSphere News
Register Now for Trip to China ".travel" Domain Named Approved by ICANN
Reach the Australian Market Through Upcoming See America Seminars Convention Success for National Tourism Foundation and Tourism Cares for Tomorrow
Convention Photos Available Learn More About Travel Trends at 2005 Spring Meet
Tour Supplier Directory Update CrossSphere Classifieds

Negotiations with United Airlines Lead to Important Changes

On Dec. 15, CrossSphere Secretary Bob Hoelscher, CTP, CrossSphere President Hank Phillips, CTP, and Industry and Government Relations Director Matt Grayson met with Sandra Kelley, National Account Manager, Student and Group Products, and Nathan Lopp, Manager, Tourism Boards and United Vacations, at United’s headquarters in Chicago.

The subject of the meeting was the recently announced changes to the CrossSphere member program and to see how the groups could work together to restore tour operator value to the program.

As a result of the meeting, United has agreed to provide preferential treatment for CrossSphere members in regards to group domestic deposits. United said the lower deposit rates should be available at the first of the year or shortly thereafter. For specific information on the discounts, click here.

In addition, United has committed to increased contact with tour operators in order to improve the group-booking process. United is urging increased dialogue between the airline and tour operators so that seats may be returned to inventory as quickly as possible, and they have committed to proactive contact with operators to make this happen.

For the future, CrossSphere and United discussed the reduction of deposits on international flights, having deposits apply toward the purchase price of the tickets and a "tiered" program that would allow those tour operators with the best utilization of booked space to get increased discounts and deposit reductions.

"CrossSphere and United Airlines have a long and productive partnership, and the changes agreed to by United shows what can happen when two partners sit down to work together," said CrossSphere President Hank Phillips, CTP. "We look forward to working with United in the future to provide even more value to our tour operators."

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CrossSphere Advocacy Key to Creation of Tourism Office in Department of Homeland Security

The United States Congress passed legislation recently that created a "tourism office" within the office of the private sector, special assistance to the Department of Homeland Security. This passage culminated three years of effort by CrossSphere and its key industry partners to create an industry voice in this important government agency.

This legislation is part of the larger reorganization of the U.S. government’s intelligence structure, which includes terrorism prevention and prosecution, border security and international cooperation and coordination.

"This CrossSphere-initiated and industry-led effort represents a great success that will benefit all travelers, assist in keeping America safe and encourage inbound tourism around the globe," said CrossSphere President Hank Phillips, CTP.

In 2003 the association launched the legislative initiative to create a tourism industry position within DHS. There was an immediate recognition that the heightened security procedures would disrupt air travel and negatively impact international inbound traffic. In addition, the association was concerned that heightened security procedures would cause long delays at U.S. land borders; furthering discouraging packaged travel between the U.S. and our North American neighbors. Now a remedial response is in statutory language.

As set forth in legislation initiated by CrossSphere, the duties of the private sector special assistant will now represent the interests of the travel and tourism industry while adhering to the security mandates of the department.

"The travel industry owes a big debt of gratitude to Rep. Jon Porter (R.-Nev.) for his courageous leadership," CrossSphere Legislative Counsel Jim Santini said. "Congressman Porter has opened the DHS door. Now, the responsibility is upon the shoulders of the industry representatives to work with the special assistant to transform the dream into reality."

Santini and CrossSphere industry representatives plan to request a meeting with the private sector special assistant to explore ways to work together to meet the security objectives, while minimizing travel and tourism disruptions.

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CrossSphere Member Spreads Holiday Cheer

Notch Above Tours is giving a priceless gift to families of Vermont National Guard members this holiday season.

The Jeffersonville, Vt.-based company has put together a motorcoach trip to Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg, Miss., that will reunite families with their loved ones serving in the Vermont National Guard. The group will leave Vermont on Thursday, Dec. 23 for the 24-hour-plus ride to Camp Shelby and return on Dec. 26. Soldiers are on leave Dec. 24 and 25 and will be able to join their families those two days. The timing is especially important, since it is likely that the more than 650 Vermont National Guard members will be deployed to Kuwait in January 2005 for a yearlong security mission.

"We are very happy to provide this chance for family members to be together for the holidays," Notch Above Tours President Jim Jackson said. Jackson also noted that Premier Coach is playing a key role in this generous effort by providing drivers and helping keep costs down.

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More CrossSphere News

The introduction of the new association brand and the name change to CrossSphere, The Global Association for Packaged Travel, has garnered a full range of emotion and reaction. Members both for and against the change have voiced their opinions on the forums, sent e-mails to CrossSphere headquarters and communicated directly with members of the association’s board. The 58-member Leadership Team (which includes those appointed to Leadership and the CrossSphere Board of Directors) will review current feedback of the brand during their Jan. 21 and 22, 2005, meeting. now has an expanded section where you can read more about the brand initiative, learn how you can use the brand change in your business, see sample text that will help you transition from NTA to CrossSphere and access a sample news release that can be used for your newsletter or local media. You also can continue to download the CrossSphere logos from this section of

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Register Now for Trip to China

Time is running out for you to sign up for the upcoming CrossSphere Product Development Trip to the People’s Republic of China from Feb. 15-25, 2005. Space is reserved for full-time employees of CrossSphere tour operators, one participant per company, and the deadline to register is Dec. 24, 2004.

Cost of the all-inclusive, 11-day trip is $799 + tax ($902 total) and includes airfare from San Francisco. The trip takes you to Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou and the Grand Canal.

To see a detailed itinerary, or to register click here. Other questions should be directed to TUI China’s sales director Mark Kang at 415.990.3603 or at

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".travel" Domain Named Approved by ICANN

CrossSphere is participating in the creation of the ".travel" top-level domain name initiative, which was recently given the green light by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. The industry-sponsored ".travel" domain will launch in early 2005, and only legitimate buyers and sellers of travel or travel products can purchase a ".travel" Web address.

The ".travel" domain is being established in concert with a ".travel" Internet directory to improve Internet identity, increase adoption of online technology and enhance links between suppliers and their customers. Because only legitimate travel companies are able to participate, the ".travel" domain is expected to lead to greater consumer confidence and increased e-commerce activity within the travel sector.

CrossSphere is a member of The Travel Partnership Corporation, a nonprofit organization who is sponsoring the domain along with Tralliance, the proposed registry. As a member of TTPC, CrossSphere will assist in developing policy for ".travel," including handling informal domain name dispute resolution. Other members of TTCP include travel and tourism associations throughout the world.

"CrossSphere is proud to back Tralliance and the TTCP in this initiative," said CrossSphere President Hank Phillips, CTP. "The ‘.travel’ domain will help travel industry members strengthen their presence on the Internet and reinforce the partnership between tour operators, destinations, suppliers and the consumer."

As more information becomes available on the ".travel" domain in the coming weeks, CrossSphere will communicate it to members through "This Just In" on its Web site and in Tuesday. For more detailed information on the initiative, visit the Tralliance Web site at

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Reach the Australian Market Through Upcoming See America Seminars

Did you know that the United States ranks as the leading long-haul destination for Australian travelers and that the average traveler from "down-under" stays 23 days in the U.S. per visit? Is your destination/business capturing its share of this booming Australian in-bound market? If not, CrossSphere members can promote their destinations to the seventh-largest overseas travel audience without leaving their office at the 2005 See America Seminars.

Members can forward their brochures to the U.S. Commercial Service, who will then display them at its Literature Distribution Booth during the three See America Seminars. The seminars are a major event on the Australian travel industry calendar, bringing together more than 1000 travel professionals. They are organized by the Visit USA Organization-Australia and will take place in Sydney on Feb. 28, Brisbane on March 1 and Melbourne on March 2.

All you need to do is send copies of your brochures (via U.S. domestic mail) and payment, and the U.S. Commercial Service will take care of the rest by promoting your destination or business in all three cities for only $650. The Commercial Service will present your material to Australian travel professionals and pass leads directly to you for follow-up.

Please visit for more information and to register online, or contact Paul Tambakis, Director of the Honolulu Export Assistance Center at 808-522-8041 or via e-mail at

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Convention Success for National Tourism Foundation and Tourism Cares for Tomorrow

Joan Niemeier, sales manager of Tourism Kelowna, reacts after winning one of the packages at the National Tourism Foundation’s Live Auction in Toronto.

Thanks to countless donors and volunteers who contributed their time and money during the 2004 CrossSphere Annual Convention, the National Tourism Foundation had numerous successes.

Approximately $90,000 was raised through the Silent & Live Auctions and the new Auction Finale. Nearly 800 tickets were sold to the second annual "Michigan Rocks and Rolls the Foundation," which raised an additional $27,000 for Foundation programs.

A total of 45 students participated in Convention activities, including 33 scholarship, internship and award recipients and 12 Toronto-area students who attended Pro-Am Day. These enthusiastic future leaders shadowed industry professionals during their Tour & Travel Exchange appointments, attended seminars and networked with delegates at social functions. They also participated in roundtable discussions led by industry professionals on Pro-Am Day.

Of course the Foundation’s biggest news in Toronto was the creation of ONE foundation for the travel industry. In 2005, there will be a new nonprofit organization, Tourism Cares For Tomorrow, formed through the consolidation of the National Tourism Foundation and the Travelers Conservation Foundation.

The National Tourism Foundation extends a sincere "thank you" to all those who have supported its research and education initiatives. Since 1982, more than 400 students have received awards totaling more than $1.5 million. By supporting Tourism Cares for Tomorrow, you will continue to help travel and tourism students with their educational pursuits and also promote the preservation of valuable historical sites that are vital to the industry. For additional information, visit

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Convention Photos Available

Photos from 2004 Annual Convention are now online at

Looking for another way to remember your 2004 Convention experience? What better way than to relive it through pictures.

Well, we’ve done that for you, and you can check out a sampling of snapshots from the Annual Convention in Toronto by clicking here.

If you want to order copies or any of these, or see the complete collection of more than 1,000 Convention images, please go to the SharpShooter Imaging Web site.

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Learn More About Travel Trends at 2005 Spring Meet

Judy Randall

What type of trends will we see in the travel industry during 2005 and beyond? How will these trends impact the way you do business? Get the answers to these questions and more by joining us at the 2005 Tour Operator Spring Meet in Sacramento, Calif. on March 30-April 2.

Judy Randall from Randall Travel Marketing will be on hand at the Spring Meet to present her session "Top Ten Trends in Travel and Tourism." As tour operators develop their travel products and marketing plans for the months and years ahead, it is important to understand the needs and wants of customers as well as the industry trends. In her informative presentation, Randall will share her research on some the biggest trends tour operators can expect to see in the coming months. From changing customer demographics to shifts in consumer buying patterns, this session has information crucial to the success of your tour operator company. Don’t miss this opportunity to keep informed of the ever-changing trends in the travel industry.

This session is just one of the outstanding educational seminars available at the 2005 Spring Meet. Make plans to join us in Sacramento for what promises to be a great networking and educational event. For more information on the Spring Meet educational programs, click here or contact Jason Jones, CrossSphere’s assistant director of education, at

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Tour Supplier Directory Update

On page 13 of your 2004-05 Tour Supplier Directory, the contact information for Taymac should say Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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CrossSphere Classifieds

Trademark For Sale We own the Federal Service Mark for "Hub & Spoke Tours" and have decided to leave the travel business. So the Mark is for sale! This type of tour was developed to provide a more relaxing way to sightsee, spending several nights in one hotel and taking day trips out from there. The Hub & Spoke Tour minimizes unpacking & repacking and eliminates rushing from hotel to hotel. Contact company president Henry Kempf at 727-791-4512, or e-mail or write to 2954 Mayfair Court in Clearwater, FL 33761.

Position Available – Director, Ottumwa Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Will promote the Ottumwa, Iowa, area for recreation, conventions, trade shows, casual and business travel. Responsible for annual program budget, marketing/operating plan, publications, advertising and promotion of local events. Some travel required. Applicants need strong communication and computer skills and experience managing volunteers/projects. Prefer experience 3-5 years CVB/Tourism, marketing and working with board of directors. BA or equivalent experience required. Send cover letter, resume, salary history and references to Search Committee, P.O. Box 1673, Ottumwa, IA 52501 or e-mail

If you have a listing to post in the CrossSphere Classified section of Tuesday, please e-mail CrossSphere Communications Specialist The cost is $1 per word for CrossSphere members and $1.50 per word for nonmembers. The association will send an invoice upon publication of the posting.

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