August 15, 2006
Tuesday Newsletter August 15, 2006
Volume 26: Issue 33
|Interested in becoming a sponsor for Tuesday? Contact Karla DiNardo at karla.dinardo@NTA.travel.|
In the days following last week’s foiled terrorist attacks many things in the airline industry have been changing. NTA has run a series of articles on "This Just In" containing recent updates, which can help answer some questions about specific changes and policies. Just click on the name of the topic and it will take you to more information.
Make sure to keep in mind when reading "This Just In" stories to check the date they were posted, as more current information may have become available since the article originally ran.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of State announced a proposal for revised requirements to the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, with some exceptions, for citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and British Overseas Territory of Bermuda to present a passport to enter the United States when arriving by air or sea from any part of the Western Hemisphere beginning Jan. 8, 2007.
DHS and the Department of State are providing the public with an opportunity to comment on the proposed rules and enable them to meet the proposed requirements. NTA will submit comments in support of the slight extension to the air/sea passport deadline and urge DHS to adopt a unified implementation date of June 1, 2009, for all passport requirements.
The proposed timeline and requirements would be as follows:
In addition to the passport, two other proposed travel documents that sufficiently denote identity and citizenship for the air and sea environment include the Merchant Mariner Document and the NEXUS Air card. The MMD, or "z card," is issued by the U.S. Coast Guard to merchant mariners and the NEXUS Air card is issued to citizens of Canada and the United States, lawful permanent re-entry by residents of the United States and permanent residents of Canada. The NEXUS Air card may only be accepted when used in conjunction with the NEXUS Air program. The MMD card may only be accepted when used on official maritime business.
Those wishing to comment on the proposed rule may access the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal and follow the instructions for submitting comments. Submissions must include the agency name and docket number CBP 2006-0097.
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service recently sent out notices to businesses reminding them to take care when classifying employees for tax purposes. Since most workers are either independent contractors or employees, tour operators need to make certain that their tour directors and regular company workers are classified correctly.
Ten years ago, the IRS conducted a similar campaign entirely focused on the travel/tourism industry and NTA was able to work with the IRS to take the spotlight off of tour operators. NTA will actively monitor the current situation and alert tour operators to any new financial or regulatory requirements.
"We know from past experience with the IRS that the tour operator/travel agent industries will be scrutinized," said NTA Legislative Counsel Jim Santini. "Ten years ago, NTA urged its member tour companies to classify employees properly to forestall possible audit disruptions in the future."
For example, in the Fiscal Year 2007 Treasury Appropriations Committee Report, a section titled "Misclassification of Contractors" noted that the underreporting of self-employment taxes has resulted in a $148 billion annual loss of revenue for the federal government. The Committee report "strongly urges the IRS to address this problem where misclassification of employees is widespread."
The main factor a business must use in determining how to classify its workers is the degree of control the business has over its worker. The more control the business has over a worker, the more likely it is that the worker is an employee rather than an independent contractor. If a business incorrectly classifies a worker, the business could be subject to stiff financial penalties.
Boston drivers are getting some welcome relief thanks to the reopening of a Big Dig tunnel ramp last week. The reopened ramp, which had been closed after concrete panels fell from the ceiling in a nearby connector tunnel July 10, funnels drivers south of the city toward Logan International Airport through the eastbound Ted Williams Tunnel.
"This makes a huge difference," Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said. "Both eastbound and westbound lanes will now be able to have cargo trucks going in both directions, and automobiles can go both directions."
Gov. Romney declared the ramp to be safe at a news conference last week before the freeway entrance reopened. He cautioned that plenty of work remains in other tunnels that have been closed since the accident, and that getting them ready for use could take months.
For more information on the project, go to the Boston CVB’s Web site www.bostonusa.com/ and click on the red square that says "Tunnel and Traffic Advisory for Visitors."
NTA tour operators who use the United Airlines transportation provider program can save enough money by booking one 32-person group to pay for their association dues and Annual Convention registration fee.
And there are many who are taking advantage of this benefit. As of Aug. 9, NTA tour operators’ bookings through the United program have totaled $8.2 million. That includes bookings for 842 groups and 27,275 passengers since the beginning of the year, for an average group size of 32.4 people.
Don’t forget, by contacting the United group desk and identifying yourself as an NTA member, you can receive a special deposit rate of $15, which is a $25 savings over the standard $40 deposit cost. To date, NTA operators have saved almost $682,000 in deposit costs alone.
To learn how you can start saving money by utilizing the NTA-United partnership, click here.
NTA Convention host Salt Lake City has woven its "On Location" theme into its sightseeing and Fam itineraries. Each tour is titled after a famous movie or television show that was filmed in Utah. Some of the offerings include: "Back to the Future," "City Slickers," "National Treasure," "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" and "Indiana Jones."
Visit the NTA Convention Web site for more information on Fams and sightseeing tours. Or, if you still need to register for the 2006 Annual Convention, click here and finalize plans to join us in Salt Lake City, Nov. 3-7.
Better Business. Better Be There.
How can you better prepare yourself for NTA’s Convention in Salt Lake City? Whether you are a first-time Convention attendee or just want a Convention refresher, you’ll want to take part in the Web seminar, "The Basics of NTA’s Convention: Maximizing Your Salt Lake City Experience," to be held Thursday, Sept. 7 at 2 p.m. (ET).
A veteran panel of presenters will discuss the 2006 Convention and explain the key points to know before you arrive in Salt Lake City. The presentation will provide you with valuable information, including an explanation of the Tour & Travel Exchange, a "how-to" on conducting business and a rundown of the networking and educational activities available. In addition, there will be plenty of time for your Convention-related questions.
To get registered for the Sept. 7 seminar, click here. Questions about the seminar itself should be e-mailed to Andrea Richardson at andrea.richardson@NTA.travel, or you can call her at 800.682.8886, ext. 5019 (U.S. and Canada) or 859.425.5019.
If your schedule does not permit you to take part in the Web seminar, NTA will have a recorded version available on NTA.travel approximately one week after the session, which you can access at your leisure.
You may have seen his recent appearances on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and Tim Russert’s "Meet the Press." He looks like, acts like and talks just like President George W. Bush. Who is this mystery man? He’s Steve Bridges, the comedic man of the hour.
The self-proclaimed "Mr. President" has drawn the attention of fans and media since appearing side-by-side with President Bush at this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner and during the recent Fourth of July celebration on the National Mall. NTA is pleased to announce that Bridges will be the featured speaker at the Issues Luncheon on Sunday, Nov. 5, at Annual Convention.
The Issues Luncheon, hosted by Destination Arkansas/Little Rock CVB and co-sponsored by Motor Coach Industries, is a fundraiser that supports NTA’s Government Issues Fund and TourPAC. As the featured entertainer, Bridges will give his hilarious impersonation of President Bush in a bipartisan comedy performance.
To reserve your ticket for the luncheon, which is $50 in advance, contact NTA Director of Government and Industry Relations Matt Grayson at 800.682.8886, ext. 4250 (U.S. and Canada) or 859.226.4250 or via e-mail at matt.grayson@NTA.travel.
Better Business. Better Be There.
There are three association-related deadlines coming up soon that need your prompt attention:
Tourism Cares, NTA’s official philanthropic organization, will hold its sixth annual Leadership Summit in Bermuda, Sept. 28-Oct. 1.
This event brings travel buyers and sellers together to network one-on-one in a casual atmosphere of camaraderie, recreation and relationship building. Top-level executives from both NTA and USTOA, as well as several incentive operator companies, will be in attendance. Hosting them, and various supplier and DMO members of NTA and USTOA, will be the Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and the Fairmont Southampton.
Don’t miss this great way to build your business by building relationships with tour operators. Click here or call Lisa Schmiemann at Tourism Cares 781.821.5990 to learn more.
The NTA Annual Convention in Salt Lake City Nov. 3-7 is centered around business. Enhance your company’s visibility by positioning yourself in one of several advertising opportunities available.
For maximum exposure, combine that advertisement with something in one of the other available Convention publications. To see a full list of Annual Convention publications, click here. To reserve your space or for more information, call 800.682.8886, ext. 4238 (U.S. and Canada) or 859.226.4238 or e-mail mailto:darby.schulman@NTA.traveltop of page
Position Available – Executive Director
Circle Michigan, a statewide group tour organization, is seeking a candidate for a contracted executive director position. Director is responsible for maintaining and growing membership, marketing the state to the group tourism industry and selling Michigan as a travel destination. Candidates need to be detail-oriented, have strong interpersonal skills, have exceptional sales skills and have experience developing and following an approved budget. Experience with strategic planning beneficial. Strong group travel experience is preferred. Travel is required.
Required: bachelor’s degree in business administration, marketing, tourism, other related field or equivalent. Experience in tourism or related field with strong emphasis on sales, program administration and project management.
Submit resume and contract package requirements by Aug. 30 to:
Gloria DeHart, CTIS
President, Circle Michigan
c/o Flint Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
316 Water Street
Flint, MI 48503
Position Available – Customer Service and Sales Coordinator
A customer service and sales coordinator position is available with a well-established, Washington, D.C.-area student tour operator. Enjoy a congenial, dynamic, small-office setting where autonomy, teamwork and support combine to create a pleasant and productive workplace.
Responsibilities include assisting customers over the phone, preparing contracts and proposals, applying pre-packaged product solutions, creating new packages and itineraries, managing customer databases and files, providing customer follow up and assisting with strategic planning and marketing initiatives.
If this opportunity is of interest to you, please forward your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. All inquiries will be held in confidence.
If you have a listing to post in the NTA Job Center section of Tuesday, please e-mail NTA Communications Specialist Pat Henderson. The cost is $250 and your ad will run in two consecutive issues.