March 27, 2007
Tuesday Newsletter March 27, 2007
Volume 27: Issue 13
|The Berkely Group provides a competitive Travel Protection Plan to NTA members. The plan includes an administration-free product that operators can sell to their clients and a group product that offers flexibility in pricing and compensation. To learn more click here or contact Geni Priolo at email@example.com.|
|Interested in becoming a sponsor for Tuesday? Contact Karla DiNardo at karla.dinardo@NTA.travel.|
NTA applauds the Canadian government’s inclusion of the Foreign Convention and Tour Incentive Program in the federal budget it announced last week. Under the program, which replaced the Visitor Rebate Program, Canada will still reimburse the tax paid on purchases made by non-resident attendees at conventions in Canada, as well as the tax paid on the accommodation portion of a tour package.
"Twenty years ago, NTA joined our allied industry friends to lobby for inclusion of package tours in the first GST Rebate Program," said NTA Legislative Counsel Jim Santini. "NTA commends the Minister of Finance and the Canadian officials for the continuation of this win-win program."
Last fall the Canadian government announced that it was eliminating the Visitor Rebate Program by April 1, 2007, which reimburses the Canadian Goods and Services Tax and the Harmonized Sales Tax on goods/services purchased by international travelers. NTA was one of the tourism-related groups that came out in opposition of discontinuing the program.
The new stipulations do not include GST rebates for individual travelers from foreign countries. Starting April 1, tourists will no longer be able to get a sales tax refund for items purchased in Canada unless they meet one of the conditions outlined above. It is not yet known whether FITs will receive the rebate.
The final 2006 travel data, released by the U.S. Department of Commerce last week, shows that inbound visitation to the United States is down from a majority of the top markets. The figures reveal that overseas travel from six of the top eight overseas markets to America remained below pre-9/11 levels and was down from 2005 in five of those eight key markets.
"We have lost nearly 60 million international travelers since 9/11 and the problem is only getting worse," said Geoff Freeman, executive director of the Discover America Partnership. "It is time for Congress to address this growing problem in a way that both strengthens our security and improves the efficiency of the travel process."
The importance of overseas travel is reflected in countless studies showing that those who have visited America have more favorable opinions of the country and are more likely to support U.S. policies. Moreover, industry research indicates that an increase of 10 million visitors could create 190,000 new American jobs, $16.5 billion in new spending and nearly $3 billion in new tax revenue.
Click here to read the full release.
Late last week, the European Union’s transport ministers approved the EU-U.S. Open Skies Agreement. This initiative will allow EU airlines to fly from any European city to any American city, regardless of their home country, and remove restrictions on U.S. airlines flying to EU airports.
Two specific outcomes deal with potential mergers and fare prices. The Open Skies plan permits European airlines to serve the United States from EU countries other than their homelands, which is expected to facilitate cross-border airline mergers in Europe. It also should usher in a new era of reduced costs for airlines, as greater access to strategically important aviation markets is gained.
A study released by the European Commission furthers that the agreement will result in lower airline fares and increase yearly EU-U.S. traffic by 26 million passengers. It should generate consumer savings of $16 billion, spread over a period of five years, and provide at least 72,000 new jobs.
The implementation of the accord will be delayed from this October 2007 to March 2008, based on a request from Britain, which is one of the countries that will be most affected by the agreement. It also still needs to be approved by the U.S. Congress.
On March 12, the United States signed an Open Skies Agreement with Canada, which includes provisions nearly identical to those outlined in the EU-U.S. plan.
In an effort to continue to make air traffic as safe as possible, the European Union has compiled a list of airlines it has banned from operating in European airspace. The list is based on an airline’s safety record and plane inspections conducted by authorities representing the EU and its Member States.
Each March, after the EU has reviewed safety data from previous months, it publishes the names of airlines that operate below essential safety levels. The updated list of banned airlines, along with more information about the EU’s requirements, is available by clicking here. You will need to choose from the list of 22 languages before being directed to the home page.
Your association endorses certain companies that offer products or services to NTA members at competitive rates. Currently, NTA endorses The Berkely Group as the official Corporate Partner for both the travel protection plan and liability insurance.
This corporate partner contract expires June 30, 2007, and Berkely has expressed their desire to continue serving the NTA membership. As a result, Berkely will submit a proposal to continue its official corporate partnership with NTA. Your association is seeking additional referrals for companies offering both a travel protection plan and liability insurance and will extend an opportunity for them to submit an RFP as well.
If you are currently working with an insurance company that offers both travel protection and liability insurance at the national level and are pleased with the service and rates you receive, please share your information so that NTA may include them in the RFP process. You can do this by submitting the company name and the name and phone number of a contact to NTA Vice President of Sales and Publishing Karla DiNardo via e-mail.
Canadian members may contact NTA’s newest Corporate Partner, Pottruff & Smith, for their Canadian liability insurance needs, or click here for more information.
Registration for NTA’s Product Development Trip to Alaska is now available. The Alaska trip will take place September 6-13, and interested parties need to be signed up by July 31.
This trip offers two itineraries, along with an optional add-on itinerary after the supplier workshop. Each itinerary has a limit of 10 tour operators and one registrant per company. The registration fee is $100 and is refundable upon completion of the trip. Participating operators are responsible for making their own air arrangements.
NTA’s Person-to-Person Tracking Project will take the spotlight at next month’s Tour Operator Spring Meet. RoseMarie Sutton-Holt will be on hand at the event to discuss the project and continue the enthusiasm that’s building for this critical issue that NTA is working to solve.
To date, 83 NTA tour operators have pledged their support for the project, but NTA still needs more participants. Operators who haven’t yet signed up yet can learn more about the process by talking with Sutton-Holt in Kelowna. Additionally participating tour operators, who have completed an interview, can provide more insight on what they have described as a "painless process."
NTA would like to thank another group of companies that have taken part in the tracking interview process. Those who have contributed to finding a solution to this issue that is so critical to our industry include:
- CTN Travels
- Dynamic Travel Inc.
- Educational Tours and Travel Corp.
- Free Spirit Vacations
- Fun Tours Inc.
- Kramer Fun Tours
- New Horizons Tour and Travel
- Specialty Tours Inc.
- Sports Empire
- Travel Adventures Inc.
- Wells Gray Tours Ltd.
It seems the volunteers from previous Tourism Cares for America cleanup projects who said "Go West" meant it, as registrations are rolling in for the 2007 event. Early sign up numbers for the project, which will take place in historic Virginia City, Nevada, May 17-19, are ahead of schedule, so you need to register now to secure your spot. East Coasters also will want to book their airline tickets soon.
There is no better place for Tourism Cares’ first western project than this authentic old-west town. In the late 1800s, Virginia City was "the richest place on earth" where the townspeople feasted on oysters and champagne, wore the latest Parisian fashions and attended opera houses where the likes of John Barrymore, Harry Houdini and Lillie Langtry enthralled audiences. Today the restoration and upkeep of the city’s relics from this once booming, boisterous town are the sole responsibility of fewer than 1,100 citizens and they need your help.
NTA is an annual Association Sponsor of the Tourism Cares for America events and its members and staff have been strong supporters through their participation. To learn more about the Virginia City cleanup event and to sign up click here or call Tourism Cares at 781.821.5990 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you out West!
The April issue of Courier includes, for the first time, a feature story on wine-related travel. The article details many places across North America where hands-on winery experiences are available. Business section stories include a piece from boomer expert Matt Thornhill and a Q&A with Geoff Freeman, executive director of the Discover America Partnership. Destination stories shine the spotlight on New York City, the Great Lakes Loop, Arkansas, Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. And speaking of Texas, don’t miss Past President Charlie McIlvain’s end-page essay about his experiences at Tourism Cares’ work projects.
July Issue – Ad Space: April 30; Editorial: Past
National Parks; Zoos & Aquariums; Coastal California & Baja; Classic New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island & Vermont); Kentucky; Ohio; Tennessee; West Virginia.
August Issue – Ad Space: May 28; Editorial: April 1
Theaters; Fall Foliage; Orlando; Pacific Northwest (British Columbia, Northern California, Oregon & Washington); Illinois; Indiana; Michigan; Minnesota; Ontario; Wisconsin.
September Issue – Ad Space: June 22; Editorial: May 1
Museums; Rail Travel; South Pacific; Southwest (Arizona, Mexico, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas); Georgia; North Carolina; South Carolina.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
The Berkely Group (TPP) – Beverly Garland’s Holiday Inn/Universal City – Circle Line Sightseeing Yachts Inc. – Coach America – Colorado Springs CVB – Experience Colorado Springs at Pikes Peak – Detroit Metro CVB – International Floral Garden & Exposition – ITS Design & Printing Inc. – John G. Shedd Aquarium – Laredo CVB – MotorCity Casino – Niagara Parks, Restaurants & Attractions – Rapid City CVB – Staples – Top of the Rock – Walt Disney Theatrical Productions – World Yacht Cruises
Click here to view the 2007 NTA Editorial Calendar.