April 10, 2007
Tuesday Newsletter April 10, 2007
Volume 27: Issue 15
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Get Ready for Spring Meet
FCC Continues Ban on Cell Phone Use During Flights
Italian Government Changes Rules on Tourist Guides
WTTC Steps Up Climate Change Campaign
Yellowstone Producing Successful iPod Video Series
May 12-20 is National Tourism Week in America
Many Ways to Volunteer to Help Your Association
NTA Representatives to Attend Pow Wow
Thanks to Members Referring New Members
July Courier Features National Parks, Zoos and Aquariums, Coastal California to Baja, Classic New England, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia
The 2007 NTA Tour Operator Spring Meet is two weeks away. First-time attendees and veterans alike should remember a few key recommendations to help them have a successful Spring Meet:
- Relax: The Tour Operator Spring Meet is a relaxed, comfortable event. The schedule offers a variety of social options to be enjoyed. The Spring Meet is sure to be one of your favorite industry events.
- Participate: Attend as many sessions as possible – for both education and networking. The beauty of Spring Meet is the opportunity to talk and connect with your peers and, to do this, you’ve got to participate.
- What to Bring: The dress for Spring Meet is casual. Bring your sneakers and comfortable clothes for the sightseeing tours and leisure activities. Make sure to bring plenty of business cards – especially for Tour Operator Speed Dating. Also, if you are flying from the United States to Canada, don’t forget your passport.
- Speed Date: Speed dating is NTA’s innovative networking option for tour operators. During the session, you’ll have three-minute appointments with other operators where you can learn their product and tell them about yours. Hopefully, you’ll find a new business partner or two.
Not registered but don’t want to miss out? There is still time to register and even fly free to the 2007 Spring Meet, April 26-28 in Kelowna, British Columbia. Contact your Member Services team at questions@NTA.travel for more information.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission announced April 3 that it won’t alter a rule requiring cellular telephones to be turned off during airline flights. The agency has been debating the topic of cell phone usage on airplanes since 2004.
Unlike the Federal Aviation Association, which bans the use of cell phones and other portable electronic devices for fear they will interfere with navigational and communications system, the FCC is concerned about interference with other cell phone signals on the ground. In the FCC statement, the agency noted that there was "insufficient technical information" available on whether airborne cell phone calls would jam networks below and it was not worth the risks.
The agency didn’t close the door on the issue, noting that it may "reconsider this issue in the future if appropriate technical data is available for review."
On March 30, Italian legislators narrowly passed a legal decree to loosen the rules regarding the activity of tourist guides and tour escorts. The legislation will deregulate the activity of escorts, rather than requiring companies to hire local guides to travel with their groups.
Previously, anyone addressing a tourist had to be an official guide, accredited by local authorities. This effectively meant that – despite their expertise – teachers, university lecturers, ministers and guides from outside Italy were restricted in the way in which they were allowed to perform their duties. They could not provide commentary to tourists unless the group was accompanied by officially sanctioned guides who, in many cases, would travel with the group to fulfill the letter of the law but not say a word.
In addition to being impractical, the policy was costly for operators who had to pay for the unnecessary escorts. The new language should help alleviate the concerns of many operators of feeling overregulated by the Italian government.
In a press release, the European Tour Operators Association expressed its gratitude for the change, saying "[We have] no doubt that a move away from restriction will benefit the consumer and the Italian tourist industry as a whole. It is possible to have a flourishing local guiding scene within a deregulated market, as seen in London and Paris."
The World Travel & Tourism Council has announced plans to launch an international campaign, calling for dialogue on climate change. As part of the campaign, the organization will run full-page ads in publications such as The Daily Telegraph, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal and travel trade media.
The topic will be one of the main things on the agenda at the 7th Global Travel & Tourism Summit, to be held in Lisbon, Portugal, May 11-12. The event will bring together travel and tourism leaders from the public and private sector, as well as international media, to reflect on the most pressing issues regarding climate change.
In line with most expert predictions, WTTC research suggests that demand for travel and tourism will continue to grow at a steady annual rate of 4.3 percent over the next 10 years. With this in mind, the challenge will be managing this growth by balancing business needs with cultural, social and environmental factors. The Summit will directly address the challenges associated with growth through discussion sessions that provide an outlet for a creative exchange of ideas.
Another component of the WTTC’s efforts is the creation of an online forum to encourage open dialogue and draw input concerning environmental good practice. Industry leaders, experts, governments and other stakeholders are invited to join the dialogue and to share their views by clicking here.
Yellowstone National Park has become one of the first national parks to produce its own mini-documentaries and make them available on the Web through downloadable video files for iPods. The videos are a good planning tool for tour operators and guests alike, as they can do some advanced scouting work on places they hope to visit. Also, once visitors are on site, they can let the iPod videos provide in-depth commentary on what they are seeing.
Several years ago, park staffers began posting video clips and an accompanying paragraph on the park’s Web site. The positive responses to those motivated park employees to come up with something more sophisticated. The first video for iPods was "Inside Yellowstone," a series of more than 30 90-second videos about the park’s history, geological features and popular stopping points.
Additional projects have followed, including "Bears, A Yellowstone Love Story" and "Yellowstone InDepth," which includes 5- to 10-minute documentaries exploring larger issues in the park such as invasive species, grizzly bears and the so-called supervolcano beneath the park. There are plans for videos about the reintroduction of wolves, bison management and the role of fire in the park.
"We don’t plan to get rid of the actual live ranger," said Beth Taylor, a Yellowstone interpretive ranger and the on-camera host and writer for many of the videos. "We’re trying to engage people in new ways."
The video projects, partially funded by the Yellowstone Association and the Yellowstone Park Foundation, will continue this year.
The United States will observe 2007 National Tourism Week May 12-20, through a series of activities wrapped around this year’s theme, "Tourism: America’s Front Door." The nine-day celebration provides cities, states and travel-related businesses nationwide the opportunity to collectively champion the power of travel.
National Tourism Week’s organizer, the Travel Industry Association, has the event logo available for companies to download. The logo can be added to company Web sites or used for press releases or added to printed materials detailing their National Tourism Week activities. Click here to access the logo.
Additionally, TIA has a list of ideas for ways to celebrate National Tourism Week. One of the recent suggestions from the TIA Communications Committee was for travel-related businesses to honor local airport employees.
Airline workers, airport staff and transportation safety officers interact daily with travelers and are key cogs in helping America put its best foot forward. Whether companies hold an event to reward these workers, put a banner up in airports thanking them or provide them with small gifts, this recognition can go a long way in helping honor these key front-line ambassadors.
Are you looking for ways to build business relationships with other NTA members? Volunteering for the association is one way to connect with your NTA colleagues and at the same time it can directly impact the growth of your business.
NTA provides numerous volunteer opportunities each year. In addition to volunteering at the Annual Convention and participating in NTA’s Recruitment Rewards Program, members can be part of the Leadership Team, participate with the Grassroots Action Network and assist with special projects like the DMO tracking initiative.
If you’re interested in learning more, please visit member involvement page located on NTA.travel. If you have questions related to these or other NTA volunteer opportunities, please contact your NTA Member Services Department at 800.682.8886 (U.S. and Canada) or 859.226.4444.
NTA will participate in the upcoming International Pow Wow event to be held in Anaheim, California, April 21-25. By sending representatives to this event, it allows your association to represent your interests through individual meetings with international inbound tour operators.
Again this year, it is expected that nearly 300 NTA members will be attending Pow Wow. If you are one of those companies, please be sure to stop by the NTA booth (#473). Receptive tour operator members in attendance are encouraged to place brochures in a display rack at the NTA booth.
Also related to Pow Wow, an annual tradition continues with the FIT Brunch. This will be the 16th gathering of females in tourism, and it’s happening Sunday, April 22, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Hilton Anaheim Pavia Room. If you would like to join many NTA members and other industry colleagues for the FIT Brunch, the cost is $65 per person, payable by check to Sharon Gaiptman. Mail checks to P.O. Box 20385, Juneau, AK 99802-0385.
The expansion and diversification of your association has many benefits. It helps give NTA a stronger voice in the industry, provides you with more potential business partners and can save you a little money, too, if you refer a new member.
For each tour operator you pass along that becomes an NTA member, you’ll receive $100 off Annual Convention registration through the recruitment rewards program. Additionally, members referring new tour suppliers or DMOs that join NTA will receive a $25 gift card.
The following members have contributed to the association’s growth the past two months by referring a company that joined the NTA ranks:
Click here to learn more about how you can benefit from getting involved with NTA’s recruitment rewards program.
The July 2007 issue of Courier offers plenty of opportunity to get your company’s message in front of tour operators through advertising. The issue includes:
The space deadline for July Courier is April 30 so one month remains to get in the magazine ranked No. 1 in the industry by tour operators. To reach your account executive call 800.682.8886, ext. 4232 (U.S. and Canada) or 859.226.4232 or e-mail advertising@NTA.travel for more information.
Click here to view the full 2007 Editorial Calendar.