April 3, 2007
Tuesday Newsletter April 3, 2007
Volume 27: Issue 14
|NTA Corporate Partner Staples is committed to providing the association’s members with competitive prices on office supplies, access to thousands of office items, Internet ordering solutions and free next-business-day delivery. U.S. members wanting more information should click here or contact Keith Nolfi at email@example.com. Canadian members wanting more information should click here or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.|
|Interested in becoming a Tuesday sponsor? E-mail Karla DiNardo at karla.dinardo@NTA.travel.|
Reminder on Listing of Surcharges in Advertisements
Reach 20,000 Group Leaders Through NTA Publication
Starting today, you’ll notice a difference in the way the headlines of Tuesday articles appear. Instead of just including the story titles as has been done in the past, articles will be organized by the following five categories, to help you more easily locate the type of news you want.
This idea came from discussion by the NTA Communication and Education Development Committee when it met during January Leadership.
If you have any thoughts or suggestions on this change, please pass them along to NTA Communications Specialist Pat Henderson.
The NTA Communications Survey was e-mailed to members last week. This survey, dedicated solely to NTA’s communications vehicles, was sent at the request of the Communication and Education Development Committee.
"During the committee’s January meeting, they asked that we survey the members," said Cindy Brown, committee chairman. "So, we ask that you take a few minutes out of your very busy day to give us your truly valued feedback."
As a thank you for completing the survey, you can enter your name in a drawing for a $50 Visa gift card. One DMO, one tour supplier and one tour operator winner will be chosen.
If you have any questions while completing the Web survey, please contact Sandy Stansfield, NTA research analyst at sandy.stansfield@NTA.travel.
The American Recreation Coalition created the Byways 2021 Blog as part of the National Scenic Byways Program 15th anniversary celebration last December. This interactive, Web-based venue is used to share ideas about the future of America’s Scenic Byways.
An article by NTA Chairman and CEO Randy Julian, "NTA: Uniting Travelers with America’s Byways," is currently on http://www.byways2021.org/. In his posting, Julian comments on the new pilot program between NTA and ARC, announced in January, which will bring the technology era to America’s Byways. The two groups will work to produce multi-lingual digital commentary about features along the George Washington Memorial Parkway and make it available for free on the Internet in Mp3 format.
Individuals with an interest in Scenic Byways are informed when new posts are made to the site and invited to comment on the statements. Program coordinators, byways managers, state transportation and tourism agency leaders, national scenic byways coalition representatives, federal land management agency representatives and others are among those notified.
Visit the Byways blog to submit your own comments, support, or other ideas about the future of the byways program. Your statements will be instrumental to byways leaders, policy makers and the National Commission on Surface Transportation Policy and Revenues, which will make recommendations to Congress on the future of surface transportation in the United States.
Spring Meet delegates will experience Summerhill Pyramid Winery at the Icebreaker event on Thursday evening during the 2007 NTA Tour Operator Spring Meet, April 26-28.
Visit with colleagues and business partners at this unique venue. The event is intended to offer delegates a relaxing atmosphere for networking and Summerhill is sure to deliver. Attendees can stroll through the organic gardens and vineyard, the largest certified organic vineyard in Canada. Relax in the Pyramid Wine Cellar, the only one of its kind in the world. Taste the vineyard’s organically grown wines and savor the combination these wines paired with locally inspired cuisine, prepared by Executive Chef Jesse Croy.
Registration is available for the 2007 NTA Tour Operator Spring Meet, in Kelowna, British Columbia. Call 800.682.8886 (U.S. and Canada) or 859.226.4444 for more information. There are a limited number of United Airlines vouchers remaining, so call to learn if you can still get one and fly free to Spring Meet!
The 2007 NTA Annual Convention will be held Nov. 2-6, in Kansas City, Missouri. Delegates will be able to access the 2007 Convention Web site at http://convention.nta.travel/ beginning April 23. A schedule of events, educational offerings and other related information will be available.
Convention registration opens Tuesday, May 15 at noon ET. Tour suppliers and DMOs should register early to participate in the appointment scheduling process. Watch your mail and your inbox for future Convention updates.
Sponsorship is a great way to get noticed at NTA’s Annual Convention and stand out among the 2,400+ delegates. One of the most visible sponsorships at Annual Convention is the registration bag. Given to every delegate upon check-in and used throughout the week and beyond, the registration bag provides a great sponsorship opportunity to visually brand your company’s image with all delegates, including the tour operators/buyers.
To learn more about this opportunity and others like chair back covers, tour operator sticky notes, the Saturday luncheon, our Mini-Manicure booth, Convention advertising and more, contact NTA’s Vice President of Sales Karla DiNardo at 800.682.8886, ext. 4232 (U.S. and Canada) or 859.226.4232 or e-mail sponsorship@NTA.travel. Click here to learn more about 2007 sponsorship opportunities.
NTA reminds tour operators that the U.S. Department of Transportation is cracking down on tour operator pricing, specifically how airline fuel surcharges are priced in tour advertisements.
The DOT has mandated that per-person government imposed or approved taxes and fees, such as Passenger Facility Charges, international departure taxes, U.S. Customs, Immigration and Security fees and foreign airport taxes, may be broken out of the advertised fare, provided the amounts of such fees and charges are clearly stated elsewhere in the advertisement.
Excise taxes and federal excise taxes, however, must be included in the advertised fare. This is because they are charged on a percentage, not a per-passenger basis. Fuel surcharges may never be broken out from an advertised fare unless imposed by a government agency on a per-passenger basis. Advertised tour prices, if air is included in the package, must include airline imposed fuel surcharges.
Violations of these provisions have resulted in fines of up to $25,000 per infraction. NTA and USTOA are working together to get a reasonable solution to this issue for tour operators.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the state of Washington to launch a pilot program that will enhance the security of state driver’s licenses. The new licenses may provide one possible compliance alternative to the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative’s passport requirements.
Under current WHTI provisions, U.S. citizens re-entering America from Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, or Bermuda by land or sea, including ferries, will be required to present a valid U.S. passport or other documents as determined by the Department of Homeland Security as early as January 2008.
The pilot project, signed into law by Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire, calls for Washington to begin issuing new enhanced driver’s licenses in January 2008. They will look much like conventional driver’s licenses, but will be loaded with proof of citizenship and other information typically found on passports that make the document an acceptable form of identification at U.S. land and sea ports.
The new Washington licenses, which are expected to cost $40 (as opposed to the $95 it costs to get a passport), will include radio frequency ID chips and other advanced security features that would make them less vulnerable to forgery.
To read the full Department of Homeland Security release, click here.
Last week, Google announced Google SMS, a tool allowing travelers to check their flight status using their cell phones. Google SMS is available for flights departing or arriving in the United States, using information provided by flightstats.com.
The service allows travelers to text their flight number to 466453 (GOOGLE), and the status information will be sent back to their mobile phone. If they need to get an airline’s phone number, they can text a specific airline name and receive the main number.
The service is free, apart from standard messaging costs from telecom carriers.
NTA is pleased to announce that The Trip Planner for Group Leaders, will be published in September. This planner promotes NTA members and their services to 20,000 qualified group leaders and 1,400 tour operators, who need tour planning services. The magazine-size publication, which boasts a year-long shelf-life, features articles on trends in the industry and includes association updates and a tour operator directory. Group leaders and NTA member companies will receive a complimentary copy of the annual planner.
You can promote your company or organization to this influential group of travel buyers. Tour operators can purchase listings in the directory section of the planner, which includes company contact information and a 25-word description to be provided by the company representative. Additionally, all members can purchase display advertising in the planner, and various ad sizes are available. The deadline to book ad space is June 15.
To learn about available promotional opportunities in the The Trip Planner for Group Leaders, please e-mail Karla DiNardo, NTA’s vice president of Sales and Publishing, or call her at 800.682.8886, ext. 4232 (U.S. and Canada) or 859.226.4444.