Exactly How Qualified Are NTA Tour Operators? | Tips, Trends … and a Box full of Memories
September 25, 2012
Interested in advertising in Tuesday? Email Karla DiNardo.
Exactly How Qualified Are NTA Tour Operators?
Progress! Efforts to Increase Travel to U.S. Paying Off
Tips, Trends … and a Box full of Memories
In Case You Missed it last Week …
Fall Foliage Forecasts, Facts
Travel Exchange Sponsors Receive Extra Visibility
Trilogies Top Hotels’ List of Left-behind Books
Industry News and Updates
NTA tour operator members are the cream of the crop. How do we know? Because each tour operator applicant goes through a series of crucial steps to be considered for membership.
Tour operator applicants must:
- Provide a company brochure, tour itinerary and/or Web address, which we review to be sure that they are, indeed, a tour operator. (NTA’s definition of a tour operator is someone who packages travel, which means selling two or more travel components for an inclusive price.)
- Provide documents showing how they are registered to do business (indicating the state or country they do business in) and they must abide by all laws, rules and regulations.
- Have a minimum of three consecutive years in the business as a tour operator by actively engaging in the business of developing, packaging, promoting, selling and operating packaged travel.
- Maintain general public liability insurance coverage, providing a copy of the certificate with their application.
After meeting these minimum requirements, their information is posted on NTAonline for public viewing for five consecutive days. At this time any member has the opportunity to submit comments or concerns to the staff or to other members.
Once the five days have passed, the board of directors has the opportunity to cast their votes for approval. If accepted, the new tour operator is granted membership and will be published here so others can see the new additions to the NTA family!
It’s not over yet. When tour operator members renew their membership each subsequent year, they are required to resubmit their insurance information.
Of course, all members are expected to follow the association’s code of ethics and professional responsibility to maintain their memberships and credibility within the association.
How can you meet these qualified buyers?
- Register for Travel Exchange to network with them and request sit-down business appointments with them. You can see who’s attending here.
- Conduct an NTA Online search and download a member leads list customized just for your needs.
- Post your deals on the Partner2Partner site. (More information here.)
- Sponsor and/or advertise at one of NTA’s Business Builder events and in NTA publications.
Two recent reports highlight progress in diverse efforts to attract more visitors to the United States, including advances in visa processing, marketing and customer service.
- Visa wait-times for Chinese travelers now average five days (down from three weeks in 2009).
- Average wait-times in Brazil are at two days (down from 140 days in São Paulo).
- Demand for visas has increased 37 percent over 2011 in both China and Brazil.
- The U.S. has processed a half-million more Global Entry travelers in 2012, expediting clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers entering the country.
- Customs officers at airports handling most international visitors scored a 90 percent approval rating.
Brand USA released preliminary results of its tourism marketing efforts, showing that all three markets targeted by a campaign launched in May show an increased "intent to visit" the U.S.:
- Canada, up 13 percentage points
- UK, up 17
- Japan, up 11
These developments reinforce the idea of a "renaissance of appreciation for tourism" explored during NTA’s Grassroots Congressional Travel Summit in May.
The October issue of Courier highlights member product in Asia, the Great Plains, Hawaii and the New England states of Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. Courier‘s business section includes tips for using quizzes, questions and QR codes to increase Facebook activity; trends and facts about packaging Israel and Jordan; and market data on travelers from Australia. Our Music Special Section covers a wide range of NTA-member product from the Mississippi Blues Trail to the San Francisco Symphony.
The issue closes with a powerful essay by NTA Vice Chairman Mark Hoffmann, CTP, in which he reflects on a visit with longtime NTA friend Ruth McKinney.
… How about today? We’re conducting another session of our Travel Exchange Insider Webinar for folks looking to learn the ins and outs of our big event in Orlando. During last week’s webinar, we covered details about business appointments, along with an overview of the schedule and networking events.
Join us by computer or phone today at 2 p.m. ET for a free online session hosted by your friends at NTA, plus insights from Tara Thomas of The Old Spaghetti Factory, who is fresh off her first convention last year. For more ways to get acquainted with the best show in the business, check out our first-timers’ program on the Travel Exchange website.
After a mild drought and an early spring, New England could see an early peak in fall foliage, according to experts. The forecast for brilliant fall fireworks contrasts with last year, when Tropical Storm Irene washed out access to prime viewing areas throughout the region. The outlook isn’t as rosy red (or orange, yellow, etc.) for areas of the Midwest hard-hit by drought; leaf-lovers there could see more muted colors. Across the country, national parks attract visitors interested in fall foliage as well as reduced crowds and discounted rates. For a roundup of parks known for autumnal beauty, see this USA Today story.
And for a crash course in the science behind seasonal leaf colors, this CNN article takes you through the basics: Shorter days signal trees that it’s time to shut down and stop photosynthesizing. As the green chlorophyll disappears, other colors come forward, determined by a combination of temperature, sunlight and pigments in each leaf.
While attending Travel Exchange (Orlando, Jan. 20–24, 2013) is a must for any travel professional, sponsorship is the best way to stand out and get noticed by the 1,000 NTA tour operators and UMA motorcoach operators, according to Benjamin Eastman of the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau.
"Sponsoring at NTA gave us some great added exposure and allowed us to have a permanent location on the floor throughout the conference," Eastman said. "This made it easy for the buyers to always know where to find us."
All sponsors at the $5,000-plus level receive a 10-by-10 booth on the NTA floor, along with many other promotional benefits. For more details about the benefits of sponsoring at the industry’s leading event, email Karla Dinardo or call 859.264.6556. And to view available sponsorships and benefit levels, click here.
A list of the top 20 books left behind in Travelodge hotel rooms in the UK, Ireland and Spain reveals that fiction trilogies have surpassed celebrity and "chick lit" books in popularity. Or in the case of E.L. James Fifty Shades trilogy, the list might simply show which books readers opt not to take home. The other top leave-behinds are in the Hunger Games and Dragon Tattoo series. To see all 20 titles on the list (along with other interesting finds), follow this link.
The study cited three reasons that travelers leave books behind: by accident, to lighten their luggage, and to share a good read with the next guest.
- Just in time for fall foliage tours, motorcoaches may resume using the Pawtucket River Bridge to enter and depart Rhode Island on Interstate 95. Weight restrictions for northbound and southbound lanes have been lifted.
- An airlines expert predicts the next wave of fees will be for features that provide convenience and special treatment, including check-in assistance, shuttle service and meal upgrades.
- After rising for eight weeks, U.S. gas prices have skidded to a halt. Looking down the road, a predicted increase in supply paired with a decrease in consumer demand could send gas prices down.
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