August 7, 2007
Tuesday Newsletter Aug. 7, 2007
Volume 27: Issue 32
|This issue of Tuesday is sponsored by National City Bank. National City’s Travel Funds Protection Plan is no ordinary protection plan – it’s a "true" escrow program that promotes your company’s professionalism and dependability to the travel agents and consumers you service.|
|Interested in becoming a Tuesday sponsor? E-mail Karla DiNardo at karla.dinardo@NTA.travel.|
Last Chance to Run for the 2008 NTA Board of Directors
Register Now for the 2007 NTA Grassroots Symposium
Tourism Cares to Auction Off a Motorcoach at Convention
Make sure that you take full advantage of the resources that are available to you as you prepare for your Tour & Travel Exchange appointments during the 2007 NTA Convention in Kansas City, Missouri. Here are a few helpful hints as you begin the appointment scheduling process.
- While the deadline to submit your appointment requests isn’t until Oct. 5, it takes time to make the best request list possible, so start early. You can research potential business partners using the search features and online profiles and add appropriate companies to your request list as you go.
- By updating your list over time, your requests will show up on the shopping list of those companies that you request. This allows others to see that you are interested in meeting with them, and they can then request you as well, resulting in more perfect match appointments.
- Use the Message Center to e-mail questions to specific delegates. You can ask them to add you to their request list, and increase your chances at a perfect match.
- Checking your list often allows you to see what companies have been added as Exchange participants, and you can determine if you want to meet with any of those that have registered since you last logged on.
- Need help getting started? Tour suppliers and DMOs can contact NTA Member Services to request a custom lead sheet of the tour operators who visit your attraction or destination.
Click here to log on and begin making your requests – you’ll need your registration number to access the system. If you have further questions contact your Member Services Team at 800.682.8886 (U.S. and Canada) or 859.226.4444.
The NTA Convention Committee has worked diligently to come up with enhancements for the 2007 Convention geared to help improve your business’ bottom line. Here is a look at three of the modifications:
- The Buyer-to-Buyer Exchange – Tour operators can both buy and sell during this session which includes seven-minute prescheduled appointments between operators and professional travel buyers, including travel agents and bank and educational travel planners.
- The Destination Pavilion – The Destination Pavilion, a revamped version of the DMO Workstations, groups suppliers and DMOs into regional pods on the Convention Mall floor where tour operators can shop based on geographic interests.
- Seven-Minute DMO Appointments Return – Based on member feedback, seven-minute appointments are back for DMOs during the Tour & Travel Exchange. This means that all Exchange appointments will be seven minutes in 2007.
Sponsoring at the NTA Convention is the best way to set your company/destination apart from the 2,500 other delegates. Sponsorship at the $5,000+ level includes a booth on the Convention Mall floor for the 2007 Convention. The booth is just one more way for your company/destination to capture the attention of NTA tour operators, who sell millions of dollars of travel packages annually.
The following sponsorships are available and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis:
For more information on how you can elevate your presence at Convention, please contact Karla DiNardo at 800.682.8886, ext. 4232, or 859.226.4232.
The deadline to run for the NTA Board of Directors as a nominee from the floor is Aug. 8 at 5 p.m. ET.
Anyone wishing to become a floor nominee must contact Nominating Committee Chair Ann Thomas, CTP, in writing by the deadline to be considered. Floor nominees must meet all the qualifications for nomination as established in the NTA bylaws and floor nominees must be nominated by an eligible voter.
If you are interested, e-mail Thomas at email@example.com.
The number of countries eligible for America’s Visa Waiver Program is expected to jump significantly, based on Homeland Security legislation that President Bush signed into law last week. NTA has supported the expansion of the program, and the law’s passage is welcome news for the association’s members and other travel companies who stand to benefit from the new spending that will be generated by the millions of additional visitors to the United States.
The law will expand the program, which currently includes 27 countries, by 12 nations immediately and paves the way for others to take part in the future. The legislation adds Argentina, Brazil, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Israel, Malta, Slovakia, South Korea, Taiwan and Uruguay to the existing list of 27 Visa Waiver countries from which visitors can enter the United States for up to 90 days without needing a visa.
Before a country can earn visa-waiver status, it must maintain a refusal rate of 10 percent or lower for applicants seeking U.S. travel visas. Previously, the refusal rate was set at 3 percent. The new language also gives Homeland Security flexibility to approve a country’s application based on its law enforcement and anti-terror cooperation with America.
The legislation, which addressed recommendations proposed by the 9/11 Commission, also contained provisions to improve the welcoming and arrival process at America’s top 20 overseas inbound airports. The provisions should decrease the time it takes to get through customs, since more than 200 customs officers will be hired, and provide better information in the Federal Inspection Services area through promotional videos and brochures.
Last week, President Bush signed into law S. 966, the "Passport Backlog Reduction Act of 2007," which will allow the U.S. State Department to rehire Foreign Service retirees to assist in the processing of passport and visa applications. The move is aimed at getting as many as 100 trained processors back to help with unfulfilled passport and visa requests.
From January to March 2007, more than 5 million U.S. passport applications were filed. The overwhelming demand created a backlog and increased wait times, which has affected the travel plans of thousands of U.S. citizens. It is anticipated that, by year’s end, the State Department will issue 17 million passports, compared to the 12 million processed in 2006.
The unprecedented demand was spurred in large part due to the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which required travelers leaving and returning to the United States via air to have passports for trips to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean starting in January 2007. The WHTI requirements for land and sea entry could go into effect as early as January 2008, and so applications should continue to be above prior levels for the foreseeable future.
The recent wave of wildfires in Montana has forced closures at some of the state’s park sites. While all of Glacier National Park remains open, dry conditions and fires have led to temporary closures in portions of the Bob Marshall Wilderness, parts of the Flathead and Lewis & Clark National Forests and at Gates of the Mountains Wilderness Area.
Besides fire advisories, Montana also has fishing restrictions in place due to drought conditions, low river and lake flows and high water temperatures. Current information on advisories and closures is available at http://visitmt.com/fire/conditions.htm.
Another resource to help tour operators and travelers stay informed is NTA member Glacier Country, a marketing partnership between the state’s western counties – Flathead, Glacier, Lake, Lincoln, Mineral, Missoula, Ravalli and Sanders. Glacier Country provides daily updates to all of the frontline people at visitor centers, CVBs, hotels and attractions so they can help groups avoid fire-affected areas.
Make plans to join your colleagues to learn about key travel-related legislation and to talk to your elected officials about tourism issues during the 2007 NTA Grassroots Symposium. At the symposium, which will be held Sept. 24-25 in Washington, D.C., elected officials and industry insiders will give you the latest information from Capitol Hill.
NTA has added a reception on Sept. 25 as part of this year’s symposium. Invite your member of Congress and their staff to learn about NTA and the packaged travel industry at this new event. There is no registration fee to attend the symposium and all event-related programming is free.
Click here to access the symposium registration form. A limited number of rooms are available at the Hotel Washington for a special rate, and you must indicate on the registration form if you’d like to be in the NTA room block to receive this discount. E-mail NTA Industry and Government Relations Director Matt Grayson with any questions.
Tourism Cares and Stallion Bus Industries are pleased to announce that an SLC 936 Sunliner Coach will be the featured item in the live auction at the NTA Convention. The deluxe 36 passenger coach, with many extra features, will be on display on the Convention floor and then be auctioned off Monday, Nov. 5, during the live auction.
"This will certainly make an already exciting live auction even more exciting," said Shane Ratliffe, the World Champion auctioneer who has been the official auctioneer at the NTA Convention for more than a decade. "Auctioning off a motorcoach kind of takes me back to the old days of NTA. It will be great."
The Tourism Cares live and silent auctions also will feature a theme of "Bidding on the Best" as this year suppliers and DMOs are being asked to donate unique packages and items that exemplify their destination. "We’re keeping the auction in line with the Tour & Travel Exchange’s Destination Pavilion theme," said Bruce Beckham, Tourism Cares executive director.
For more information on how to donate to the Tourism Cares auction, contact Jill Talladay at firstname.lastname@example.org.