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Tuesday Newsletter

October 10, 2006

Tuesday Newsletter October 10, 2006
Volume 26: Issue 41

This issue of Tuesday is sponsored by VisitBritain. For everything you need to know about developing tours to Britain, and to find out about all the British partners who will be joining us at the NTA Convention this year, go to See you there!.
Interested in becoming a sponsor for Tuesday? Contact Karla DiNardo at

Today’s Headlines
  • NTA and Industry Succeed in Passport Issue Delay
  • NTA Convention: Online Tools Help You Prepare
  • Canada Eliminates GST Visitor Rebate
  • NTA Elections: Setness Withdraws, Ballots Distributed
  • Funds Established in Memory of Amish Students in Pennsylvania
  • Berkely Releases New Policy Information
  • Update from United Airlines
  • More States File Orders Against Trip Assured
  • Thomas Invites Tour Suppliers to Final Call
  • NTA Family News: Remembering Steve Williams
  • Sponsorships Available for Tuesday Luncheon at Convention

    NTA and Industry Succeed in Passport Issue Delay

    Before it wrapped up its legislative season, the U.S. Congress passed a bill that included provisions to delay the implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. Originally, the initiative called for all travelers entering the United States from the Western Hemisphere to have a passport or other secure travel documents by Jan. 1, 2008, for land and sea travel.

    Under the revised provisions, the deadline for U.S. citizens, Canadians, citizens of the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda and citizens of Mexico to have a passport to enter or reenter the United States via land and sea could be pushed back to June 1, 2009. However, departments of Homeland Security and State can implement earlier deadlines with three months notice. They would have to comply with the seven requirements laid out in the new provisions. Cruise passengers will now have additional time in which to comply and also have the option of obtaining the passport (PASS) card.

    NTA and allied industry groups raised concerns about the impact the original legislation would have on travel, specifically for student/youth and seniors, since these demographics are less likely to have passports and costs to obtain them could be prohibitive. Another fear is that cross-border traffic would be stymied because it is unlikely that sufficient technological and personnel processes would be in place by the original Jan. 1, 2008, deadline.

    NTA received coverage from numerous news outlets on this significant legislative victory, including travel trade publications like Eturbo News, Travel Pulse Daily, Travel Advance and Travel Weekly. Your association also worked with consumer media outlets to get the word on the issue including The New York Times, Indianapolis Star and The Oregonian.

    If it is relevant for you to send a news release on this topic to your local media, please click below to personalize one of the hometown releases NTA has prepared.
    Tour Operators
    Tour Suppliers and DMOs top of page

    NTA Convention: Online Tools Help You Prepare

    Appointment schedules for the 2006 NTA Annual Convention will be available next week. Even before you learn who you will be meeting with, you can begin your preparations for five days of better business at Convention.

  • Are you aware of the changes to the 2006 Convention?
  • Tour suppliers and DMOs: have you prepared your profile form?
  • Do you know the value of consulting your online shopping list?
  • Are you familiar with the Tour & Travel Exchange policies?

    Click here to visit the "Appointment Preparation" page of the Convention Web site, where the answers to these questions and many more can be found.

    If you still have questions or want to register for the 2006 Convention in Salt Lake City, Nov. 3-7, e-mail or call your Member Services team at 800.682.8886 (U.S. and Canada) or 859.226.4444.

    Better Business. Better Be There.

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    Canada Eliminates GST Visitor Rebate

    The Canadian Federal Government recently announced that, as of April 1, 2007, it would no longer offer the country’s Goods and Services Tax Visitor Rebate Program. Since the announcement, NTA has received more information regarding the impact that eliminating the program, which reimburses travelers for the GST and the Harmonized Sales Tax they pay on eligible goods and short-term accommodations, will have for tour operators.

    NTA learned that if a written agreement for a supply to which GST relief applies was entered into prior to Sept. 26, 2006, the relief would continue to be available to recognize the fact that contracts may have been negotiated based on the availability of that relief. Therefore, the proposed amendments for tour operators would apply as follows:

  • Non-residents would no longer be eligible for a rebate of GST in respect to tour packages where the first night of accommodation in Canada included in the tour package is after March 31, 2007.
  • This GST rebate would continue to be available in respect to tour packages purchased under a written agreement entered into before Sept. 26, 2006, if the first night of accommodation in Canada is before April 1, 2009.

    NTA is continuing to work on the issue with its Canadian industry partners, just as the partners did 20 years ago when Canada’s government passed legislation creating the GST rebate.

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    NTA Elections: Setness Withdraws, Ballots Distributed

    Katherine Setness, president of Setness Tours, informed NTA Nominating Committee Chair Ann Thomas, CTP, and NTA Chairman and CEO Judith Thomas, CTP, that she is withdrawing her candidacy for the NTA Board election. Setness cited the success of recent business ventures, "which will require me to spend considerably more time on the road than I anticipated and I will not be able to give the commitment needed" as the reason.

    In light of this development, the election will proceed with Setness’ name removed from the ballot. The remaining candidates for the three two-year tour operator board seats are: Nick Calderazzo, RMP Travel; Sherri Guiborat, Mayflower Tours; Gloria Kenley, The Kenley Connection; Suzanne Slavitter, CTP, Sports Empire; and Jim Warren, Exclusively Canada.

    Ballots for the elections were distributed last month and must be returned by Oct. 27. All member companies should have received either an electronic ballot via e-mail or, if NTA does not have an e-mail address on file for you, a paper ballot. Instead of voting in advance, members may choose to wait until their respective business meetings at Convention in Salt Lake City.

    Contact NTA Director of Industry and Government Relations Matt Grayson at with any questions on the election process.

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    Funds Established in Memory of Amish Students in Pennsylvania

    The Pennsylvania Dutch Country, where the Amish schoolhouse shootings took place last week, is a familiar destination for many NTA tour operators. In response to the tragedy, NTA contacted Susan Kimball, group sales coordinator at Pennsylvania Dutch CVB in Lancaster, to express sympathies on behalf of the association and for an update on what members could do to help.

    Kimball said the CVB has continued to work closely with local officials in the aftermath and she encourages members to make monetary donations to one of the funds that have been set up, or to send cards and letters to the families. She added that assistance with transportation, meals or lodging is not needed and strongly discourages sending any other items to the area.

    Cards and letters can be mailed to:

      Bart Township Fire Company
      P.O. Box 72
      11 Furnace Road
      Bart, PA 17503

    Donations to the families can be mailed to:

      Nickel Mines Children’s Fund and/or Roberts Family Fund
      Coatesville Savings Bank
      1082 Georgetown Road
      Paradise, PA 17562

    Additional questions can be directed to the CVB’s Vice President of Communications Janet Wall either via e-mail at or by calling 717.391.6005.

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    Berkely Releases New Policy Information

    The Berkely Group is announcing two new coverage extensions for tour operators’ professional liability policyholders. With the recent changes, Berkely can now offer coverage for liability arising from:

  • Abusive Acts, including sexual abuse or molestation
  • Medical Services that are rendered as emergency first-aid treatment

    The Abusive Acts coverage is now available to new or existing student and adventure tour operators and will be available to all Berkely policyholders upon completion of the state filings, which is expected in the near future. This coverage offers "first dollar defense" (no deductible), with the defense coverage in addition to the limit of liability. The current limit available is $1 million (U.S.), and the coverage is primary when no other valid or collectible insurance is available. Coverage for the Abusive Acts can be added by endorsement for an additional premium.

    The coverage for the Emergency Medical Services is now available to all Berkely policyholders, as it is automatically included in the basic policy form at no additional charge.

    For more information on these coverage extensions or the program in general, please contact Berkely’s NTA representative Maureen Kaye via e-mail at or by calling 800.453.4080, ext. 2629.

    The Berkely Group serves NTA as its official corporate partners for customized travel insurance products.

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    Update from United Airlines

    United Airlines distributed a letter recently that outlines an increase in the deposits for groups. However, according to NTA’s United contact, Laura Ziliak, rates for association members will remain $15 for domestic and Canada tickets and $80 for international.

    The letter states that during the next year, United will be rolling out a series of enhancements and adjustments to policies and resources for all group products. As an example of how much NTA members save because of the special pricing mentioned above, United said that deposits for its other U.S. and Canada group business will rise to $50 per seat and go up to $100 for international flights.

    For further information on United’s group policies, members may contact Ziliak via e-mail at

    In additional United news, the carrier is seeking to secure the rights to a non-stop route from Dulles to Beijing, China. NTA members are encouraged to support United’s efforts by signing this online petition.

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    More States File Orders Against Trip Assured

    In the Sept. 5 issue of Tuesday, it was reported that Texas and North Carolina had brought cease-and-desist orders against Trip Assured to stop the company from selling trip cancellation insurance in their states. Since that article appeared, California, Florida, Michigan and Tennessee have taken similar action to stop Trip Assured from doing insurance-related business within their borders.

    The Crossville, Tennessee-based company has received complaints ranging from operating without a license in Texas to refusal to pay claims, especially of senior citizens and their families, in California.

    NTA will continue to post updates on this issue at "This Just In" on the home page of

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    Thomas Invites Tour Suppliers to Final Call

    Chairman and CEO Judith Thomas, CTP, invites tour suppliers to participate in her final Chairman’s Conversation Club call on Wednesday, Oct. 25, from 3-4 p.m. (ET). To register, contact NTA Executive Assistant Celeste Moore via e-mail at Participants will be sent a toll-free dial-in number.

    The conference call format allows tour suppliers to give feedback to NTA about changes occurring in the packaged travel industry and to discuss challenges faced in day-to-day operations. To read notes from previous Chairman’s Conversation Club calls, click here. top of page


    NTA Family News: Remembering Steve Williams

    Steve Williams, chief marketing officer at Thanksgiving Point, passed away Aug. 2 at the age of 45 after a seven-month battle with cancer.

    Williams had been with the Lehi, Utah-based attraction for three years. Prior to joining the Thanksgiving Point staff, he spent most of his professional life working with the Utah Children’s Miracle Network and the Salt Lake City Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics.

    Cards and memorial gifts can be sent to Williams’ wife, Mary Ann, at 691 Old English Road, Draper, UT 84020. For additional information, go to

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    Sponsorships Available for Tuesday Luncheon at Convention

    An all-delegate luncheon has been added to the Convention schedule for Tuesday, Nov. 7. Sponsorships for this event are now available on a first-come, first-served basis. This luncheon can be cooperatively shared among several sponsors, and this sponsorship includes maximum visibility for your destination/property, at a minimal cost.

    For more information about this luncheon, e-mail or call 800.682.8886, ext. 4232 (U.S. and Canada) or 859.226.4232. There are a limited number of other sponsorships still available. Click here to view the complete list of sponsorships and benefits for NTA’s official sponsors.

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