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NTA Conducts First Faith-based Tourism Leaders Forum | Montage Launches PDT to Eastern Europe

January 3, 2012

Volume 32, Issue 1

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NTA Conducts First Faith-based Tourism Leaders Forum
Montage Launches PDT to Eastern Europe
Distinguished Dozen Winners, Convention Photos Highlight Courier
Mark Your Calendar!
U.S Inbound Travel on Pace for Record-setting Year
Tourism Cares Grant Recipients Announced
6 Reasons your Best Employees Will Leave
Industry News and Updates

NTA Conducts First Faith-based Tourism Leaders Forum  

NTA hosted its first Faith-based Tourism Leaders Forum during Convention ’11. More than 60 industry professionals gathered to discuss trends, challenges and opportunities within this burgeoning marketplace. Strategies, insights and ideas1.3.12FBTforum were initiated in small-group discussions then shared with the entire forum.

One of the greatest challenges for the faith-based industry, according to participants, is adapting an organization to the changing needs and desires of today’s faith-based traveler, said Kevin Wright, NTA’s director of faith-based tourism.

"The modern faith-based traveler seeks more diverse travel experiences and destinations than ever before," Wright said. "Moreover, people of faith no longer want to just ‘watch and learn’ while traveling; they now want to experience their vacation in more personal ways." 

Another important outcome of the Forum was NTA’s launch of its Faith-based Tourism Network. To learn more about this program and coalition of members involved with faith-based tourism, or to request a full summary of the Faith-based Tourism Leaders Forum, e-mail Wright.

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Montage Launches PDT to Eastern Europe 

Montage ’10 and ’11 allowed NTA tour operators to thoroughly experience destinations in Spain and Scotland. In 2012, the Montage umbrella will expand to include a series of product development trips.

The first Montage PDT will take eight NTA tour operators on a journey to Vienna, Slovakia and Budapest. The trip, sponsored by the Slovak Tourist Board and DiscoverSlovakiaTours and exclusive to NTA members, takes place May 11 to 16 and is open to one participant per company.

Participants fly into Vienna and begin their experience with a city tour of the Austrian capital. From there, a boat ride on the Danube River will take operators to Bratislava, where they will spend the next four days. Despite being one of Europe’s youngest capitals, Bratislava offers centuries of tradition, featuring cobblestone streets and wide-open plazas. Its location on the banks of the Danube places it at the crossroads of ancient trading routes and helped it become a meeting point of various cultures.

Following the Bratislava visit, tour operators will see one of Slovakia’s top wine regions (tastings included), explore the Orava Castle estate, visit a cheese-making plant and hike to a waterfall in the Tatra Mountains. The historical Slovak cities of Banská Bystrica and Banská Štiavnica are the next stops, then the group travels to Budapest for an afternoon of sightseeing before returning to Bratislava for a farewell dinner.

This Montage PDT is priced at US$550 and includes air fare (JFK-Vienna-JFK), three meals a day and English-speaking guides. Interested parties can complete this form and submit it by e-mail to Lee Carter, senior vice president at NTA. Questions? E-mail Marcela Laukova, CTP, of DiscoverSlovakiaTours.The deadline to register for Come and Explore Eastern Europe is Feb. 15.

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Distinguished Dozen Winners, Convention Photos Highlight Courier 

1.3.12CourierThe new year brings a new look for NTA’s Courier magazine, as the January issue contains an updated banner on the cover, a new typeface for articles and a refreshed approach to the destination stories in the Where to Go section.

The first edition of 2012 offers a photo-filled look back at your association’s recent Convention in Las Vegas, and unveils the names of the winners of Courier magazine’s annual Distinguished Dozen contest. These awards—based on a survey of the association’s tour operators—honor top NTA member destinations or tour suppliers in 12 different categories, such as favorite culinary destination, favorite casino or gaming property, favorite sun-and-sand destination, favorite scenic railroad, etc.

Your January Courier also includes destination profiles of the United Kingdom and Ireland, the Great Lakes region, Alaska, California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

Repeat advertisers in this issue are Amish Acres, Aon Affinity Berkely Travel, Buca di Beppo, Circle Line Sightseeing Yachts, Maid of the Mist Corporation and Roaring Camp Railroad. We’re grateful to our repeat advertisers (those who book in three or more issues of Courier per year). Click here for more information.

Upcoming content and deadlines: 

April Issue: Mexico; Caribbean; Arkansas; Oklahoma; Texas; New Orleans; New York City; Contact ’12 (San Diego, California); River Cruising; Historical Trails.
Ad Space: Feb. 1
Editorial: Jan. 2

May Issue: Italy; Smoky Mountains (Ashville, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge); Iowa; Kansas; Missouri; Nebraska; Chicago; Montreal; Industry Topic: Adventure Tourism; Special Section: America’s National Parks.
Ad Space: Feb. 29
Editorial: Jan. 30

June Issue: Gulf Coast (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas); Latin America; Delaware; Maryland; Pennsylvania; Virginia; Washington, D.C; Special Section: Native American & First Nations; Guide: Sightseeing Receptive.
Ad Space: April 4
Editorial: March 5

Click here to view the entire 2012 editorial calendar.

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Mark Your Calendar!  

Whether you keep a calendar on paper, computer, phone, or all three, take note of these upcoming events for 2012 and beyond.

  • Feb. 2–7: NTA Board of Directors and Leadership meeting in Spokane, Washington
  • March 25–28: Tianguis Turistico Mexico in Puerto Vallarta
  • March 30: Tourism Cares for Pensacola
  • April 10: Online registration opens for Travel Exchange, the combined NTA Convention/UMA Expo, January 19–23, 2013, in Orlando, Florida
  • April 18–20: China Outbound Travel & Tourism Market in Beijing
  • May 5–8: NTA Board of Directors meeting in Branson, Missouri
  • May 8–10: Grassroots Congressional Tourism Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C.
  • May 11–16: Montage product development trip to Eastern Europe (sign up by Feb. 15)
  • Aug. 16–18: Contact in San Diego, California
  • Aug. 19–21: NTA Board of Directors meeting in Palm Springs, California
  • Nov. 10–13: NTA Board of Directors meeting in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  • Jan. 19–23, 2013: Travel Exchange in Orlando
  • Feb. 16–20, 2014: Travel Exchange in Los Angeles
  • Jan. 17–21, 2015: Travel Exchange in New Orleans 


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U.S Inbound Travel on Pace for Record-setting Year 

International visitors to the United States spent more than $13 billion on travel and tourism-related activities during October, an increase of 13 percent over the same month in 2010. The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that the October increase put the country’s travel and tourism-related exports on pace to exceed $152 billion for 2011, which would break the record previously set in 2008, before the onset of global economic slowdown.

From January through October, international visitors spent an estimated $126.8 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services, an increase of 14 percent when compared to the same period in 2010. For more information, see the chart below or the full release.


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Tourism Cares Grant Recipients Announced 

Tourism Cares has recently awarded a second group of 2011 grants, totaling $60,000, to six nonprofit organizations as part of its Worldwide Grant Program. All recipients will receive full matching funds from other organizations for a total ofTourism Cares $120,000. The grants were presented to the organizations for projects in the areas of historic preservation or educational programs at cultural and maritime heritage sites or natural sites. Collette Vacations and Trip Mate have generously made contributions to this group of Worldwide Grants.

The following organizations make up the second group of 2011 Worldwide Grant recipients:

"Tourism Cares has long been an advocate of preservation, restoration and education of exceptional cultural heritage and natural sites," said Bruce Beckham, the organization’s executive director. "The worthy recipients of the Tourism Cares Worldwide Grants have demonstrated goals that are in line with our mission."

Supporting nonprofits around the world with grant funding is vital to the mission of Tourism Cares. To date, Tourism Cares has awarded funding to 178 organizations in 32 countries and 42 states (including a dozen U.S. national parks). These grants, when combined with matching funds, total more than $2 million. For more information, visit the Tourism Cares Web site.

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6 Reasons your Best Employees Will Leave 

When your business grows from start-up to established, your staff shoulders the 1.3.12Sixchange. Sometimes employees struggle to adapt, leading them to part ways with the company they helped shape, according to business author Jeff Haden. While the search for a bigger paycheck often leads employees to look elsewhere, there may be other reasons they depart.

In a story on, Haden explores six (non-salary) reasons your best employees will leave you:

  1. As the business has grown, so has the distance between you and your staff. 
  2. The culture shifted from stimulating startup to constrained corporate.
  3. Now that initial growth has slowed, the sky is no longer the limit.
  4. Because of their specific skills, certain employees are handcuffed to repetitive tasks.
  5. A larger staff adds layers of management, with long-time employees no longer reporting to you.
  6. With more employees, your chances of bad hiring decisions go up, bringing morale down.

While no business is guaranteed to lose key employees, none are immune to the consequences of growth. To flesh out the symptoms and get ideas for remedies, read the full story.

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Industry News and Updates

  • Better design, safety audits and an experienced workforce are some of the reasons the past 10 years have been the safest decade for flying in U.S. history.
  • offers its travel predictions for 2012; they include increases in pet travel and athletic voluntourism vacations.
  • Americans’ economic confidence improved in December, with consumers expressing more optimism than at any time since June, according to Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index.

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