Convention ’11: By the Numbers | NTA Receives Special Citation for Work in China
December 13, 2011
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Convention ’11: By the Numbers
NTA Receives Special Citation for Work in China
New Board of Directors Announced
Senator to NTA Board: Tourism Is Where the U.S. Can Expect Growth
Team Texas, Hall Recognized at Convention for NTA Service
North American Panel Shares Tourism Successes, Roadblocks
2013 Convention: New Name, More Attendees
NTA and ASTA Launch U.S. Hispanic Initiative
Ten Organizations Join Industry Roundtable in Las Vegas
Four New CTPs Honored in Vegas
Sponsors Sparkle in Vegas
February Courier features Casinos, Western States/Provinces & Atlantic Coast
You can experience, or re-experience, a little of Convention ’11 in the Week in Review video and on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. We’ll share as much as we can over the next few weeks. Unfortunately, there’s no way we can replicate the feel of it.
For those of you who were with us last week, we miss you already! And for those who couldn’t make it, we hope you’ll join us Jan. 19–23, 2013, in Orlando, Fla. In the meantime, enjoy the photos, videos and comments from your fellow members.
In the middle of a week of carefully planned events, NTA members attending Convention ’11 were treated to a surprise presentation last Wednesday.
The association was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation for Achievement in Trade from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Commercial Service, "for exceptional contributions to U.S. travel and tourism exports in the China market."
Last November, the association opened its NTA Visit USA Center in Shanghai to promote travel to the U.S. by educating both the U.S. and Chinese trade about quality product and best practices, and linking them with approved tour operators in the United States. During the first quarter of 2010, NTA established a baseline of 41,936 travelers participating with China Inbound Program operators. The most recent statistics, from the third quarter of 2011, revealed that 161,849 tourists participated—an increase of 286 percent.
In presenting the award on Dec. 7, Isabel Hill, acting director of the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, cited NTA’s "courage and creativity" in developing its China Inbound Program. Also on hand to present was Laura Gimenez, U.S. Commercial Service, with the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Accepting the award on behalf of NTA were Cathy Greteman, who has since stepped down as chairman and CEO, and Lisa Simon, president.
"China is an incredible growth market for the United States," Greteman said, "and NTA is proud of our work to help increase exports through international inbound travel to the U.S."
For more information about the program, visit the NTA Web site.
During a four-week window for voting, NTA members elected a new Board of Directors. The results of the election—along with the names of directors-at-large, appointed by new chairman Jim Reddekopp—were announced at Convention ’11 in Las Vegas:
- Chairman and CEO: Jim Reddekopp Jr., Earth Bound Tours
- Vice Chairman: Mark Hoffmann, CTP, Sports Leisure Vacations
- Secretary/Treasurer: Anne Davis, CTP, Cruises and Tours Worldwide
- DMO Director: Jennifer Sutcliffe, Arizona Office of Tourism
- Tour Supplier Director: Paul Nakamoto, Roaring Camp Railroads
- Immediate Past Chairman: Cathy Greteman, Star Destinations
- Jorge Cazenave, Cazenave Argentina
- Aniseh Dalju, Destination America
- Lisa Itel, Travel Oregon
- Justin Osbon, Image Tours
- Grant Pollard, Riviera Tours
- Jill Pongonis, Busch Gardens Williamsburg
- Mahen Sanghrajka, Big Five Tours & Expeditions
- Kate Simpson, Academic Travel Abroad
Directors at Large
- Cathleen Johnson, Edelman
- Tim Moulder, Sweet Magnolia Tours
- Jay Smith, Sports Travel and Tours
The new board will hold its first 2012 meeting in Spokane, Washington, in early February.
Tourism and retail are two industries where the United States can expect to see growth, said Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) during a meeting in Las Vegas with the NTA Board of Directors. "The first people to benefit from an improving economy are those of you in this room," he said, referring to tourism professionals overall. "It’s a testament to the work you are doing."
Begich, who co-chairs of the Senate Travel and Tourism Caucus with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), described this group’s work as an "important bi-partisan effort because it gets the message out there about the economic power of the travel industry."
Begich, defined by former NTA legislative counsel Jim Santini as one of our "newest and brightest lights," is working with Klobuchar to educate legislators about Brand USA. "Tourism is about bringing dollars to the U.S., and we’re telling them [Brand USA] is a long-term effort and that this money is a long-term investment." Stressing the importance of education, Begich added, "So they don’t start picking away at the funding."
In discussing visa issues, security, and customer service provided by Transportation Security Administration officers, Begich asked, "What’s our comfort level in this country with security? We need to reassess this as it relates to our borders with TSA and [Department of Homeland Security]."
Stepping away from economic and security issues, Ed Dresel, a past president of NTA who currently serves as chairman of the NTA Services Inc. Board, thanked Begich for understanding the travel and tourism industry and the ways it promotes world peace and understanding between cultures.
While in Las Vegas for Convention, Begich took part in an industry roundtable, a meeting with the NTA Board of Directors and a special political event hosted by NTA and ASTA in his honor. This marked the senator’s fifth visit to an NTA event.
In the Nov. 22 Tuesday, we told you about winners of two prestigious NTA awards to be presented in Las Vegas: The Pioneer Award, given to Bruce Beckham, CTP, executive director and CEO of Tourism Cares; and the Bob Everidge Lifetime Achievement Award, given to Mikie Wall, vice president of sales and services for the Wilmington/Cape Fear Coast CVB.
We also promised that two more award-winners would be surprised at Convention. And they were, during the Thursday luncheon:
This year’s Shining Star was awarded to Team Texas, accepted by Linda Sweatt of the Odessa CVB and Mark Thompson of the Plano CVB. The Shining Star honors a company, a partner or a sponsoring member that has shown significant commitment and dedication in support of NTA. For more than 25 years, Team Texas has quenched the thirst of thousands of NTA delegates by handing out free soft drinks on the Convention floor
"It’s been a wonderful way to get to know each of you," Sweatt said as she accepted the award.
The NTA Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Ed Hall of VisitRochester, who has, in the words of presenter Cathy Greteman, performed "a world of work for NTA: stepping up to sponsor, offering expertise, providing leadership, serving on the board, and chairing our Best Practices Committee."
Hall received the award with warm comments: "In the 40 years I have been a member of this association, this is the most rewarding professional experience I have ever had."
A panel of travel and tourism officials from the North American region shared the strategies, successes and frustrations faced by the countries they represent and by the region as a whole.
The panel included the following officials:
- Ricardo Anaya, Under Secretary of Tourism for Mexico
- Hugh Riley, Secretary General, Caribbean Tourism Organization
- Pierre Santoni, member, Canadian Tourism Commission Advisory Board; Senior Director, Via Rail Canada
- Isabel Hill, Acting Director, United States Office of Travel & Tourism Industries
The panel, moderated by Steve Hartman of CBS News, spoke on Dec. 7 before a large and engaged luncheon audience at the NTA Convention. During a media conference prior to the luncheon, the officials made the following remarks:
Riley, whose organization includes 33 governments: "The Caribbean is the most tourism-dependent area in the world. … One of our most important strategies is to be here—at NTA."
- Anaya, calling for attention to the economic impact of tourism: "We need to stop taking tourism for granted. When we do things to facilitate transportation, we see the results right away."
- Santoni, on where to place resources: "When a good product is developed, people will find out about it. We need to invest in infrastructure."
- Hill, explaining that while there has been progress on meeting the increasing demands for travel visas to the United States, the process is not unilateral: "We can’t just go into a country and set up an embassy and take applications."
For media coverage on the panel, see this story from the Las Vegas Sun.
Starting in January 2013, NTA is combining our annual Convention with UMA’s Motorcoarch EXPO to bring you a travel industry event like no other: one show that puts the full spectrum of travel buyers and sellers on the same floor. And the name of that show? Travel Exchange.
Travel Exchange brings together:
- Itinerary designers and tour product developers
- Equipment manufacturers and operators
- Destinations, hotels, restaurants and attractions that delight and serve the clients along their way
At Travel Exchange you’ll get what you come to NTA for each year:
- one-on-one business appointments between buyers and sellers
- a full slate of industry-focused education
- fun networking opportunities with the movers and shakers of our industry
PLUS access to a trade show floor of more potential partners and industry resources and even more networking and partnering opportunities.
For tour operators: Combining these shows puts all the components of your business in one place.
For tour suppliers/DMOs: You’ll have access to a whole new community of buyers.
Mark your calendars now for Travel Exchange 2013, 2014 and 2015:
- Orlando, Florida, Jan. 19-23, 2013
- Los Angeles, California, Feb. 16-20, 2014
- New Orleans, Louisiana, Jan. 17-21, 2015
- Nina Meyer and Tony Gonchar, ASTA
- Camille Ferguson, American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association
- Kevin Langston, Travel South
- Edward Hall, Bureau of Indian Affairs
- Carylann Assante, Student and Youth Travel Association
- Isabel Hill, U.S. Office of Travel & Tourism Industries
- Matt Grayson, Receptive Services Association of America
- Tom Ready and Vic Parra, United Motorcoach Association
- Mark Murphy, Travalliance
- Lisa Simon and Steve Richer from NTA
- Sally Berry, CTP; Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York
- Nick Calderazzo, CTP; Twin Travel Concepts, Kinderhook, New York
- Marcela Laukova, CTP; Discover Slovakia Tours, Slovakia
- Lisa Shipley, CTP; Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California
An NTA-ASTA task force, chaired by Olga Ramudo, will work to propel members of the two associations deeper into the U.S. Hispanic market, expected to reach a purchasing power of $1.3 trillion in the next three years. Ramudo, president of Express Travel in Miami and a member of both NTA and ASTA, explained two positive products of the joint project during a joint news conference last week in Las Vegas.
"This initiative will promote the growth of tourism among Hispanics and, at the same time, it will create jobs in our industry," Ramudo said. "I am thrilled that the two most important travel organizations, ASTA and NTA, have recognized the importance of the Hispanic market and are joining forces to address it."
In forming the task force, the two associations have two goals in mind, said Lisa Simon, CTP, NTA president.
"One of our goals is to research the travel needs of these citizens and determine if they share distinct interests and preferences," Simon said. "Then secondly, we want to educate our members so they can best meet the needs of U.S. Hispanics."
Education will begin on Jan. 25 at 2 p.m. ET, when ASTA hosts a Webinar titled "Understanding the U.S. Hispanic Traveler." In the Webinar researcher Laura Mandala will examine the travel behaviors of Hispanic travelers and explain how travel professionals can meet their needs.
To register for the Webinar, free to NTA members, contact Jason Terwilliger, NTA’s education and research manager.
Representatives from 10 travel organizations came together Monday, Dec. 5, during the NTA Convention to discuss common interests, share priorities and explore collaboration opportunities:
"It has become a tradition to bring together the leaders of industry associations and partners during the NTA Convention, because it’s so important for us to work together to provide greater impact for our members and the travel industry as a whole," said Simon. "This year’s session demonstrated that there are many common interests, and we’ll be following up on collaboration ideas generated in the meeting."
Some of the common legislative interests discussed at the session included federal highway reauthorization, scenic byways, visa processing, independent contractors and jobs creation. Isabel Hill provided an update on the launch and marketing plans of Brand USA.
NTA announced its plans with Southeast Tourism Society to hold the 2012 Congressional Travel Summit in Washington, D.C., on May 8 through 10 and invited others to participate and maximize the travel industry’s calls on the Hill. During the meeting ASTA signed on as a participant in the Summit.
Representatives from several other associations came later in the week, including NTA strategic partners: Africa Travel Association, International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association and Sustainable Travel International, as well as American Bus Association, Adventure Travel Trade Association, and Tourism Industry Association of Canada.
The industry has just received four new Certified Tour Professionals, who were recognized for their achievement in Las Vegas:
NTA’s CTP program, the most comprehensive and specialized certification program in the industry, is offered through Temple University’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management. It’s an online, self-guided process, so you can start the course at any time. For 25 years, the CTP designation has been a hallmark of professional competency and commitment.
For more information about the CTP program, visit the Web site.
NTA’s sponsors are the best around and were a huge hit at Convention last week! To all our sponsors out there, thank you. You all are the finest group of companies, and it is our pleasure to work with you all year long! To the members, please join us in thanking those on this list of companies for their support and dedication to NTA!
If you’re interested in sponsoring at any NTA event throughout the year, please contact Karla DiNardo for more information.
Advertise in the February issue of Courier and reach 5,000 tour operator readers who are actively planning itineraries. Rated the No. 1 travel trade by NTA tour operators, Courier is NTA’s official magazine, mailed monthly to 1,500 tour operators and boasting an average readership of 3.3 professionals per tour company.
While advertising monthly is a wise investment, if your company or destination is located in the western states or provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming; along the Atlantic Coast (Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia); or at a casino or gaming property, it’s a must! You need to be seen in the February issue.
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