January 30, 2007
Tuesday Newsletter Jan. 30, 2007
Volume 27: Issue 5
|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.|
Your association has joined with the American Recreation Coalition on an innovative program that will bring the technology era to one of the United States’ most historic roads. NTA and ARC will participate in a pilot project that will make multi-lingual digital commentary about Washington D.C.’s George Washington National Parkway, located along the Potomac River, available for free on the Internet in Mp3 format.
"Once available, this will be a wonderful tool for NTA tour operators," said NTA Legislative Counsel Jim Santini. "We were founding partners of this resounding national program that created many new travel and tour marketing opportunities nationwide, and we are confident this new program will revitalize our Scenic Byways once again."
NTA and ARC will work with the National Park Service, the Federal Highway Administration and others on this pilot program to create audio guides of the George Washington Parkway. The parkway itself connects many historic and cultural features, including Mount Vernon and the Old Town district of Alexandria, Virginia.
Other byways will be added, such as a loop of Capitol Hill, Pennsylvania Avenue and the White House. The project will assist the National Park Service Centennial Challenge, which is designed to increase NPS visitor satisfaction by 2016, the 100th anniversary of the Park Service.
The National Scenic Byways program was created in 1991 and administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation. NTA was an early proponent of the program and successfully lobbied for its creation. The program is a grassroots collaborative effort established to help recognize, preserve and enhance selected roads throughout the United States. Since 1992, the program has provided funding for over 2,100 state and nationally designated projects in 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.
The National Park Service and ReserveAmerica have announced a new group tour reservation system that goes into effect Feb. 7. It is hoped that these changes will improve the reservation experience for group sales. In an e-mail that went out yesterday, NTA Chairman and CEO Randy Julian forwarded details of the new system to NTA tour operators.
The letter about the new system outlined the details of the venture, including ReserveAmerica’s toll-free reservations number for tours and camping at National Park Service locations. The organization will begin taking online reservations for Independence Hall, the Washington Monument, the Frederick Douglass Home and the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites as of Feb. 7, with the goal of gradually adding more to the online system.
The letter also says that reservations for organized tours can be made up to 12 months in advance for all parks. To read the full text of the letter, click here.
NTA has been working closely with ReserveAmerica for more than five years, so any questions and suggestions on this vital issue should be forwarded via e-mail to NTA Director of Government and Industry Relations Matt Grayson.
Earlier this month, Grayson, NTA Government Relations Committee Chair Tom Armstrong, NTA Legislative Counsel Jim Santini and NTA Vice Chairman Bob Hoelscher, CTP, met with Rick DeLappe, the reservation program manager of NPS, to discuss an equitable and reasonable policy. Because of the tremendous working relationship between NTA and NPS, the Park Service has pledged to give NTA at least 12 months notice of any entrance fee increases.
The new passport requirements for air travel within the Western Hemisphere took effect last week. While airports reported few glitches, many of your clients may have questions about traveling via air, land or sea. A survey by Kayak.com showed that only one in 20 people have started the passport application process and nearly one in five say their travel plans will change this year because of the new regulation. Even more startling, Travelocity’s annual forecast poll found that nearly one in four travelers is unaware of the new passport requirements.
NTA wants to help you inform your clients about the new rules, and how and when to obtain a passport. Besides urging them to get a passport right away, here are some important things to keep in mind:
- Citizens of the United States, Canada, Bermuda, Mexico and Caribbean nations must have a passport to enter or re-enter the United States via air as of Jan. 23, while the land and sea portions of the initiative cannot take effect earlier than Jan. 1, 2008.
- Students under the age of 18 do not have to have a passport or other citizenship documents when returning to the United States from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean as long as they have parental consent and adult supervision. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military personnel are not subject to the requirement when arriving in the United States at air or sea ports of entry.
- Americans who fly to Alaska to begin a southbound cruise would need a passport if the cruise ends in Canada and they are flying back from a Canadian airport to the United States. Even though they might only be in Canada for three hours as they transition from the ship to the airport, they WILL NEED a passport to fly back to the United States.
- A similar issue could occur if someone would get sick or have a family emergency while on such a cruise. If they had to get off the ship for treatment in another country then fly back to America from that city, they’d need a passport. The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol says they are willing to work with travelers in specific situations.
- For more information on WHTI requirements and on getting a passport, go to http://www.getapassportnow.com/. U.S. residents who need to expedite the process can click here for information on the 13 regional passport agencies or the one Gateway City Agency (Washington, D.C.) serving customers who are traveling within two weeks.
As if the destination and business aren’t enough to entice tour operators and receptive tour operators to Kelowna, British Columbia, for the 2007 NTA Tour Operator Spring Meet, complimentary airfare and an incentive offer from the host city should seal the deal.
The first 150 tour operators or receptive tour operators who register for the 2007 Spring Meet are eligible for complimentary airfare from any U.S. airport serviced by United Airlines to either Seattle, Washington, or Vancouver, British Columbia. For those operators flying into Vancouver, motorcoach transportation to Kelowna will be provided at no charge. Click here for details.
Want more encouragement? Check out the host city’s incentive program. Kelowna is so confident that you’ll bring your clients back after your stay in their beautiful city that they are offering a rebate to tour operators who do just that.
Combine the complimentary airfare with Kelowna’s incentive program and your Spring Meet experience is virtually free. Click here to register for the 2007 Spring Meet, April 26-28. Contact your NTA Member Services team at 800.682.8886 (U.S. and Canada) or 859.226.4444 for more information.
In last week’s issue of Tuesday, it was reported that United Airlines had announced modifications to its group product. One of the new policies deals with the 50/50 names requirement.
For most group types, 50 percent of names will be due to United on or before 45 days from departure. If 50 percent of names are not provided at 45 days, 50 percent of no-name space will be cancelled. (Formerly, United required all passenger names 30 days before departure.) It is important to note that applicable penalties will continue to be charged based on the group size at date of commitment. This change will apply to ad-hoc/one-shot (retail) and consolidation, but does not apply to other groups booked under a Specialty Sales contract at this time.
That change was outlined in a letter to industry members dated Jan. 17, along with an announcement that credit card payments for group deposits are now accepted and some updates to Hawaii discounts and blackout dates. All of the changes take effect immediately.
Joel Abels, industry veteran and NTA friend, passed away Jan. 25 at the Sound Shore Medical Center, in New Rochelle, New York, after a prolonged illness. Joel and his wife, Lenore, edited and published Travel Trade magazine for more than five decades.
"Joel was the consummate professional, a man of his word, a man with very high integrity," said NTA Chairman and CEO Randy Julian. "He loved people and he loved this industry. We’ve lost a giant in the travel business and we’ve lost a friend."
Abels was a pioneer of the cruise industry and in educating travel agents. He lobbied tirelessly for issues affecting the industry for many years. In 2001, he was inducted into ASTA’s Travel Hall of Fame and has also been welcomed into CLIA’s First Industry Hall of Fame.
The funeral will be held at noon this Friday, Feb. 2, at the Larchmont Avenue Presbyterian Church, 60 Forest Park Avenue in Larchmont, New York. Memorial donations can be made to any of the following organizations:
If so, we want to hear from you. Courier is your magazine, and the editorial staff wants to continue to keep the articles relevant and timely, with your help.
If there is an emerging trend or a hot topic you feel needs covering or if you are an expert on an industry issue and want to share your knowledge with NTA members, please contact Courier Editor in Chief Penny Mullinix via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, tour suppliers and DMOs are reminded to send information about what’s new for 2007 and 2008 at their destinations to editorial@NTA.travel. This is also the address to use for any press releases you currently send to NTA via e-mail.
Virginia City, Nevada, is preparing to welcome hundreds of tourism industry volunteers May 17-19 for the 2007 Tourism Cares for America restoration event. This historic mining town (the entire town is a National Historic Landmark) suddenly became one of the "richest places on earth" when silver was discovered in the mid-1800s. When the silver went away, so did the 30,000 inhabitants. Today, Virginia City and its 900 enthusiastic residents want to keep the Old West feel of their town intact for future generations, but need help to do so.
Tourism Cares volunteers from NTA, USTOA, ABA, SYTA, UMA, TIA and ASTA will work to restore and rejuvenate several sites. The levels of difficulty of projects range from archiving historic documents to sprucing up the wooden sidewalks to doing some heavy lifting along its restored railroad tracks.
Volunteers will experience the warm hospitality of a grateful community as they attend functions at Piper’s Opera House and The Delta Saloon. Participants are also invited to extend their stay to enjoy an additional day of activities in Reno, Carson City or Lake Tahoe.
Click here to find out more about this exciting and rewarding project.
You can help advance your association’s advocacy efforts by donating an item or travel package for the Government Relations Silent Auction, to be held during Spring Meet in Kelowna, British Columbia. Proceeds benefit NTA’s Government Issues Fund, and the 2006 auction items brought in more than $3,600.
The Government Issues Fund helps make your voice heard to national governments. It supports association advocacy efforts, the annual Grassroots Symposium, the legislative tracking service and the Travel Council for Fair Competition, as well as funding NTA’s work on the tour director issue.
To donate a tour package or item, please contact Matt Grayson, NTA’s director of government and industry relations, via e-mail at matt.grayson@NTA.travel, or by calling 800.682.8886, ext. 4250 (U.S. and Canada) or 859.226.4250.
The April issue of Courier offers plenty of opportunity to get your company maximum exposure. Feature stories this month will focus on historic homes and gardens as well as wine tours. The trip planners will showcase New York City and the Great Lakes Loop (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Ontario & Wisconsin). April travel guides will highlight what’s new in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah.
From east to west and north to south, this issue covers it all. The space deadline has been extended to Feb. 8, so there is still plenty of time to reserve your marketing space in this issue. 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.
The February issue of Courier includes features on casinos and ecotourism that provide valuable information on these two travel market segments. The February trip planners will take you to the Atlantic coast of the United States and then on to continental Europe. You also can find out what is new in Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan in this month’s travel guides. In the business section, Katherine Setness provides some great insights on experiential tourism and NTA Chairman and CEO Randy Julian offers thoughts about destination pop-up stores in his column.
May Issue – Preview to Annual Convention issue – Ad Space: Feb. 23; Editorial: Past
Preview to Convention; Beaches; Canyonlands (Colorado, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Sedona & Utah); Asia; Iowa; Kansas; Missouri; Nebraska; Northwest Territories, Nunavut & Yukon.
June Issue – Ad Space: March 30; Editorial: Feb. 1
Native American, First Nations & Western Heritage; Student and Youth Travel; Canadian Maritimes & Quebec (New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island & Quebec); Gulf Coast (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi & Texas); Maryland/D.C.; Pennsylvania; Virginia.
July Issue – Ad Space: April 30; Editorial: March 1
National Parks; Zoos & Aquariums; Coastal California & Baja; Classic New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island & Vermont); Kentucky; Ohio; Tennessee; West Virginia.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
Algoma Central Railway Inc. – Anderson Vacations – Autry National Center – The Berkely Group (TPP) – Beverly Garland’s Holiday Inn/Universal City – Chase Paymentech – Coach USA – Foxwoods Resort Casino – Isle of Capri Casino & Hotel – Maid of the Mist – Montana Department of Commerce – Norfolk CVB – Pechanga Resort & Casino – Primm Valley Resorts – Rapid City CVB – Staples – Tunica CVB – Turning Stone Casino – Yankee Candle Company Inc.
To view the 2007 Courier Editorial Calendar, click here.