April 27, 2004
April 27, 2004: Volume 24; Issue 8
If you’re planning on being a part of this year’s Ultimate Package, it’s almost time to reserve your spot!
You should receive your 2004 NTA Annual Convention registration materials towards the end of May. Online registration officially opens May 17, at noon Eastern Daylight Time, and you’ll want to be sure to have looked over your materials carefully if you plan to be one of the first in line.
Online registration is simple. Go to NTA Online (www.ntaonline.com) and click on the "Convention" button under "What’s New." Once you reach the online registration page, select your category of membership and follow the instructions. It’s that easy.
It’s important that tour operators register early this year to take full advantage of the post-Convention rebate program. To be eligible for the full $650 rebate, tour operators must register to attend Convention and participate in the Tour & Travel Exchange prior to June 27, the Early Bird deadline.
Convention 2004 is the ultimate business tool for the ultimate travel professional. And with Canadian hot spot Toronto playing host for this year’s event, Convention 2004 is going to be the best ever.
On May 17 make the ultimate investment in your packaged travel future! Register online for the 2004 NTA Annual Convention.
|Delos Smith, senior business analyst for The Conference Board, helps NTA members better understand how various economic indicators can directly impact their bottom line during the Examining the Current Economy and the Impact on the Travel Industry General Session.|
If your activities during the Tour Operator Spring Meet in Little Rock caused you to miss a session or if you just couldn’t make it to Spring Meet this year, you will still be able to get the information presented in all of the Little Rock seminars!
Starting Wednesday, April 28, NTA will make the audio recordings and PowerPoint presentations available on NTA Online for you to use as a resource for this great industry information. Speakers such as Joel Zeff, Nancy Friedman, J. Walker Smith, Ralph Weickel, Delos Smith and Marc Mancini are included in this year’s collection. Whether you are looking for customer service tips, alternative revenue sources for tour operators, marketing ideas for your business or how to design an exceptional itinerary, there are a variety of seminars available, full of practical information for your travel business.
Simply go to NTA Online and look under the "What’s New" section and click on Spring Meet Seminars. Then enter your User Name and password and you are ready to go. All members have access to this valuable information not just those who were in Little Rock so be sure to take advantage of this great educational opportunity!
For more information regarding the audio recordings and PowerPoint presentations from Little Rock, please contact NTA’s Assistant Director of Education, Jason Jones at email@example.com
On April 21, the U.S Department of Labor issued the final rules pertaining to the Fair Labor Standards Act. NTA and USTOA have lobbied the Department to offer explicit regulations governing the tour director/tour operator working relationship.
The final rule does offer some assistance to tour operators and tour directors wanting exempt status for tour directors. The new Dept. of Labor regulations offer clearer guidance as to the definition of "discretion and independent judgment." The clearer language was meant to forestall litigation in the future and will help tour operators classify tour directors as exempt employees.
However, NTA and USTOA asked the Department of Labor to list tour directors as an "example" of an exempt class. The Department of Labor did not do so, even though tour directors agreed with the NTA/USTOA position and NTA/USTOA met with the Department of Labor on several occasions to discuss the issue.
In many business circles, the regulatory changes have been met with great disappointment. The changes were not the sweeping overhaul the Bush Administration advertised them to be.
NTA and USTOA will continue to press the Dept. of Labor to clarify the treatment of tour directors through other regulatory means. Updates on the issue will be published in Tuesday and on NTA Online.
New rules proposed by the U.S. Small Business Administration last month would change how the size of a business is determined, making many tour and travel companies eligible for low-interest SBA loans and other assistance.
Under the proposed rules, the size of a business would be determined by the number of employees in almost all cases. Tour operators with less than 50 employees would now be eligible for assistance, regardless of their gross or net income, according to NTA Legislative Counsel Jim Santini.
The proposed rules change is a marked difference from SBA standards that were based on gross revenue as recent as three years ago. Tour companies who sought assistance just after Sept. 11, 2001 were stymied because of a standard that denied assistance to a business that made more than $6 million in gross revenue. Largely due to NTA’s influence, the eligibility standard was changed to include a ceiling of $6 million in net revenue in 2002.
Other travel and tourism related businesses and their "size of business" limits proposed under the new rules include:
To learn more about the rule change, click here.
If you would like to provide a public comment on the proposed rule change, e-mail your response to firstname.lastname@example.org before May 18. Also, please forward your comment to Matt Grayson, NTA director of Industry & Government Relations at 800-682-8886, ext. 4250 or at email@example.com today.
Recent developments reflect the growing success of NTA’s global initiative:
- Attendees at the recent Little Rock Tour Operator Spring Meet included a tour company from Denmark, two from New Zealand, and one from China.
- On the eve of the TIA International Pow Wow, NTA’s number of pre-scheduled appointments far exceeds any previous number of international tour operators requesting NTA meetings. NTA also is looking forward to similar success at Rendez-vous Canada.
- NTA has accepted an invitation from ASTA Executive Vice President & CEO Bill Maloney to conduct a workshop for over 100 representatives of national tourism offices from around the world. The NTA workshop will be held in September during ASTA’s World Congress in Hong Kong.
- Within the last 5 months, NTA conducted a product development trip to Italy, and another NTA sanctioned product development trip was conducted to Scotland. Approx. 68 NTA tour operator members participated in the trips.
- NTA now has 51 members that are located outside North America, and 20 nations are represented in the membership.
"We are definitely on a roll," observed NTA chairman Mitch Sussman. "These developments and the overall success of our global initiative demonstrate what can happen when our members, volunteer leaders, and staff get behind something. When that happens, great things are sure to result."
NTA members are being offered a discounted registration rate to attend the 2nd Annual National Travel and Tourism Summit, "Securing the Future of Travel and Tourism" May 12 in Washington, D.C. Hosted by The National Chamber Foundation and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in partnership with NTA and the Travel Business Roundtable, the summit will address the need to promote travel to and within the United States and facilitate mobility in the wake of enhanced security.
Speakers include Secretary Norman Y. Mineta, U.S. Department of Transportation; Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Jonathan M. Tisch, chairman, Travel Business Roundtable, and Steven C. Anderson, president and CEO, National Restaurant Association.
Others scheduled to speak include presidents and CEOs from travel-related associations and companies such as Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, American Hotel and Lodging Association, International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus, Air Transport Association and International Council of Shopping Centers.
To register for this event online, click here. For more information, call Scott Griset with the National Chamber Foundation at 202- 463-5500.
May 10 is the application deadline for a variety of scholarships, grants and internships offered by the National Tourism Foundation. More than $25,000 in awards and stipends is now available to travel and tourism students.
The May 10 deadline applies to the following:
The Yellow Ribbon Scholarship Available to a student with a physical or sensory disability who is a full-time student at a two- or four-year college or university in North America. Award amount: $2,500
The New Horizons Kathy LeTarte Scholarship Available to a student from Michigan who is studying at a four-year accredited university anywhere in North America. Award amount: $1,000
The Tulsa Legacy Scholarship Available to an Oklahoma resident enrolled at a four-year college or university in Oklahoma. Award amount: $500
The Travelers Conservation Foundation Sustainable Tourism Scholarship Award Available to a part-time or full-time tourism graduate student at an accredited university. Award amount: $1,000
The Pat & Jim Host Scholarship Available to a full-time student at a four-year college or university located in Kentucky. Award amount: $2,000-$8,000
The Cleveland Legacy I & II Scholarship Available to a full-time student at a two- or four-year college or university who is a resident of Ohio. Award amount: $1,000
The Societe Des Casinos Du Quebec Scholarship Available to a student at a two- or four-year college who is a resident of Quebec. Award amount: $1,000
The Tampa Hillsborough Legacy Scholarship Available to a student who is a Florida resident and is enrolled at a Florida college or university. Award amount: $1,000
Tauck Scholars Scholarships Available to four undergraduate students entering their sophomore or junior year. Award amount: $3,000
The Academy of Travel and Tourism Scholarship Available to one senior at the National Academy Foundation’s Academy of Travel and Tourism who are preparing to attend accredited post-secondary tourism-related programs. Award amount: $500
The National Tourism Foundation Internships An opportunity to work with the Foundation’s management team in Lexington, Ky. Available to two students pursuing travel and tourism-related degrees. Stipend amount: $3,000
The Patrick Murphy Internship An opportunity to work in the Washington, D.C., office of NTA Legislative Counsel James D. Santini. Available to students pursuing a travel and tourism degree with emphasis in political science. Stipend amount: $2,000
The Luray Caverns Graduate Research Grant Available to a student conducting research on a thesis, dissertation or terminal project relating to travel and tourism. Award amount: $1,500
For applications and additional information, visit the "Scholarships" section of http://www.ntfonline.org/scholarships/.
NTA’s advocacy efforts don’t easily translate into tangible, dollars-and-sense impacts. Issues that get resolved have a positive financial impact on NTA members, but for the most part it’s difficult to calculate the financial benefit.
But every so often a situation arises that can be quantified. Take, for instance, Gray Line of Portland, Ore.’s situation with the National Parks Service.
Gray Line offers an itinerary called "Retracing Lewis and Clark’s Footsteps" which includes a visit to Fort Clatsop, a National Parks Service site. The National Park Service instituted a reservation system that included pre-payment, stringent cancellation and no-refund policies for certain parks, including Fort Clatsop. In January 2004, Fort Clatsop contacted tour operators utilizing the fort in 2003 and offered them the opportunity of pre-reserving their groups’ visitation time for the ensuing high season, and offered them a discount of $2 per passenger, (the amount that normally would be charged by the reservation system.) Gray Line – Portland was not included because they did not have tours to the site in 2003.
Melody Johnson of Gray Line of Portland brought the situation to the attention of NTA Legislative Counsel Jim Santini while at the Tour Operator Spring Meet in Little Rock, Ark. Santini contacted NPS Fee Manager Jane Moore and encouraged her to meet with NPS officials at Fort Clatsop. The result: An agreement that will allow her preformed groups to visit the fort at specific times on Fridays and Sundays, and a savings of $2 per passenger. The potential savings: more than $3,500 for 2004.
The lesson here: Get involved! If you aren’t a member of the Grassroots Action Network, contact NTA’s government relations staff to join. And, your support of TourPAC and the Government Issues Fund helps keep NTA’s advocacy efforts strong. To get involved, contact Matt Grayson, NTA director of Industry & Government Relations at 800-682-8886, ext. 4250 or at firstname.lastname@example.org today.
Looking for a unique way to distribute your message/product to NTA tour operators? Why not package your brochure, profile form, CD or other promotional item to every NTA tour operator with the popular Annual Tour Supplier/DMO Directory?
The Tour Supplier/DMO Directory is mailed to more than 4,000 NTA tour operators, tour suppliers and DMOs, and is the primary planning resource for more than 650 NTA tour operators selling millions of dollars worth of packaged travel products each year.
Space deadline for getting your promotional materials packaged with this popular resource is May 7, and product deadline is May 14. Click here for more information.
While it may be true that today’s seniors (ages 65 or older) aren’t as wired as the rest of the world, that truth is changing. As they have with almost every other aspect of life, the massive Baby Boomer generation will change the way "seniors" view the Internet. Here are some interesting statistics as reported in the April 16, 2004 issue of Research Alert.
Currently, just 22 percent of seniors (those over age 65) have online access. While that is up dramatically from the 15 percent who were online in 2000 and the 2 percent in 1996, the way they use it is what we need to review. According to Research Alert, just 29 percent of people 65-plus use a computer more than just occasionally. They weren’t integrated to computer usage when they were in the workforce, they rarely open spam and, because of their discomfort with purchasing, they are more likely to only use the Internet to research. In short, they use the medium but are relatively impervious to the marketing uses of the Internet and are very skeptical of the safety of online purchases.
These are the statistics that currently are used to make the argument that one needs information but not necessarily product online. And, for now, that may be true. However, as the Boomers enter this "senior" category, that may not be the case. Additionally, the older Baby Boomers those age 50-58 and nearing retirement age are more like Generation X users (age 28-39) in their online habits. They use the computer for their news, for research and for shopping! Additionally, 76 percent of them use a computer on a regular basis from their workplace, so their comfort level is that of their younger cohorts.
The lesson from this is, as Baby Boomers become the seniors of tomorrow, the way they view the world and most certainly the world in technology and the Internet, will be vastly different from the way current seniors have. While they may want similar things (only packaged a different way), the way they will find out about products and want to buy them, by all indications, will mirror the 20- and 30-somethings of today — not the 65-plus. Companies who are prepared for the Online buyers of tomorrow will have a better opportunity to capture this huge Boomer market and will be ahead of the pack.
Plan now … The August 2004 issue of Courier contains our annual theatre guide! Reserve advertising space now to ensure that your company gets the spotlight it deserves. This issue also features a regional review on New England states, as well as our annual state travel guides, which include Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Reserve your space today in the #1 magazine read by NTA tour operators! And be sure to plan your 2005 marketing strategy by looking over the 2005 Courier Editorial Calendar. To access the calendar, click here. To receive the calendar via fax or e-mail, contact Karla DiNardo at email@example.com or at 800-682-8886, ext. 4232.