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NTA Members Selected for 2012 U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board

January 24, 2012

Volume 32, Issue 4

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NTA Members Appointed to 2012 U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board
Could Your NTA Membership Be Free?
Obama Elevates Tourism, Matches NTA Priorities
Top Travel-related Web Sites
Catch Tomorrow’s Webinar on U.S. Hispanic Market
Students ‘Experience the Industry’ at Convention
Find Your Space with March Courier‘s Destinations (and Drinks)
4 Ways for Small Business to Eye the Big Picture
Industry News and Updates

NTA Members Appointed to 2012 U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board  

Nine of the 32 members of the new U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board represent companies that belong to NTA. One of them is Olga Ramudo, president of Express Travel in Miami, Florida, and chair of the NTA/ASTA joint task force on the U.S. Hispanic market. Ramudo is impressed with the board’s diverse membership and its agenda.

"The members include all aspects of our industry. It’s a working board with goals and deadlines and, ultimately, we’re looking for results," Ramudo said. "Serving on the U.S. Travel and Tourism board is a tremendous honor, and I look forward to helping achieve great results for our industry."

The board advises the Secretary of Commerce on government policies and programs that affect the U.S. travel and tourism industry, offers counsel on current and emerging issues, and provides a forum for discussing and proposing solutions to industry-related problems.

NTA member companies joining Ramudo on the board are:

  • Todd Davidson (board chair), Travel Oregon
  • Maureen Bausch, Mall of America
  • Elliott Ferguson, Destination DC
  • Hubert Joly, Carlson Companies
  • Kathleen Matthews, Marriott International
  • J. Stephen Perry, New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Rossi Ralenkotter, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority
  • Christopher Thompson, Visit Florida

Click here for the list of all 32 board members.

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Could Your NTA Membership Be Free? 

"Thanks to the NTA Corporate Partner programs, my NTA membership doesn’t cost a thing. I save so much through the programs like Fed Ex, that I reap more from my member benefits than what I’m paying in dues. It definitely is a win-win!"
—Donna Cappa, Tulalip Resort Casino & Spa

NTA members receive valuable, exclusive discounts from NTA Corporate Partners on payroll and credit card processing, insurance, shipping, office supplies and more. Be sure your 2012 membership is renewed (you can renew online here), then take full advantage of these Corporate Partner programs *:

Payroll Processing
ADP (for U.S. members only) offers: 

  • A 20 percent discount on payroll processing costs
  • FREE month of payroll processing services
  • Waived one-time setup fee

Learn more about ADP 

Aon Affinity Berkely Travel offers:

  • NTA tour operators can receive up to 35 percent compensation on Travel Protection Plan sales.
  • NTA tour operator members may qualify for premium credits as high as 15 percent off already low NTA member rates on insurance.

Learn more about Aon Affinity Berkely  

Credit Card Processing
Capital One offers:

  • No set-up or underwriting fees
  • Low Visa/MasterCard discount rates
  • Authorization for Discover, American Express, JCB, Diners Club and major debit brands
  • Ability to utilize your existing equipment and interface with major POS systems
  • No annual or compliance fees
  • 24-hour comprehensive terminal support

Learn more about Capital One

(U.S. members participating in the FedEx Corporate Partner program save an average of $513 a year on shipping!)
FedEx (for U.S. members only) offers:

  • Up to 26 percent off select FedEx Express® U.S. services
  • Up to 20 percent off select FedEx Express international services
  • Up to 12 percent off select FedEx Ground® services
  • Up to 10 percent off select FedEx Home Delivery® services

Learn more about FedEx

Office Supplies 
Staples offers:

  • Discounts on offices supplies
  • Multiple ordering channels: online, fax or phone
  • A 10 percent credit on copy services provided at our 1,100 retail stores located throughout the United States
  • Computer and technology supplies, furniture and more

U.S. Members: Learn more about Staples
Canadian Members: Learn more about Staples

*Not all benefits/discounts are available for all members. Please review the information and disclaimers for each partner. These discounts are offered through NTA Corporate Partners, not NTA. .

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Obama Elevates Tourism, Matches NTA Priorities 

President Barack Obama last week ordered a series of initiatives targeted at increasing travel and tourism in the United States, including streamlining the visa1.24.12Obama application process and creating a task force to promote travel to and within the United States. Obama’s executive order is here; a transcript of comments about tourism from his weekly address is here.

Following the announcement, Lisa Simon, CTP, NTA president, stated that the U.S. travel and tourism industry has reached a high in terms of vigor and visibility.  

"His executive order, combined with the recent creation of Brand USA and ongoing Congressional hearings on travel issues, shows the vital economic contributions of tourism," said Simon, adding that the president has sent a clear message about tourism’s positive impact on job creation and economic growth.

The president charged his Task Force on Travel and Competitiveness to work with Brand USA to increase the United States’ market share of worldwide travel, promote travel to U.S. national parks and expand tourism opportunities in rural communities. The emphasis on both domestic and international inbound tourism is important to NTA, said NTA Public Affairs Advocate Steve Richer.

"We’re pleased that virtually all elements of NTA’s 2011–12 legislative agenda fit into the work of the task force," Richer said. "NTA will coordinate with its members, strategic partners and Congressional tourism leaders—including the co-chairs of the Congressional and Senate Tourism Caucuses—to help make the work of the task force both meaningful and successful."

Richer said the 2012 Grassroots Congressional Travel Summit, scheduled for May 8–10 in Washington, D.C., will be an opportunity for NTA members and other industry professionals to build on the steps taken by President Obama. For more information about the Summit, e-mail Richer.

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Top Travel-related Web Sites lists the following as the top travel-related Web sites in the United States for the week ending Jan. 21: 

 The most popular travel Web sites, along with the percentage of visits:1.24.12computer

    1. Expedia 12.59%
    2. 8.75
    3. Orbitz 7.31
    4. Travelocity 6.42
    5. Kayak 5.84

The most popular destinations and accommodations, plus percentage of visits:

    1. TripAdvisor 8.63%
    2. 2.75
    3. Marriott International 2.73
    4. USA Today—Travel 2.47
    5. Vacation Rentals by Owner 2.22

The most popular search terms, plus percentage of visits:

    1. Mapquest 4.28%
    2. Google Maps 1.41
    3. Southwest Airlines 1.40
    4. Travelocity 0.74
    5. Maps 0.70

To see all 10 Web sites in each category, click here.

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Catch Tomorrow’s Webinar on U.S. Hispanic Market 

"Understanding the U.S. Hispanic Traveler," a Webinar designed to help participants meet the needs and reap the rewards of this growing market, will examine the behaviors of Hispanic travelers and explain how travel professionals can serve them. Researcher Laura Mandala will conduct the Webinar on Wednesday, Jan. 25, at 2 p.m. ET.

Hosted by ASTA, the online session is free to NTA members as part of an NTA-ASTA joint task force focusing on the U.S. Hispanic Market. To register, contact Jason Terwilliger, NTA’s education and research manager.

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Students ‘Experience the Industry’ at Convention 

NTA welcomed more than 20 travel, tourism, and hospitality students at Convention ’11 for Tourism Cares‘ Experience the Industry Student Program. The students shadowed delegates during their appointments, participated in a roundtable session and attended lunch with a mentor. Here are reflections from three students on their experiences at Convention:

1.24.12Davied"I was overwhelmingly satisfied with this experience. I can’t believe I got to meet such amazing people and I was granted such a privileged spot inside the business transactions and networking that takes place at NTA Convention. I could never have imagined I would get to be a part of such a great learning opportunity. I am so grateful for the experience and will never forget all that Tourism Cares and NTA has done for me and the tourism industry. This experience was one of the most formidable and important experiences of my educational career. I had an amazing time and I learned so much. Thank you, Tourism Cares and NTA, for such an amazing experience."
—Kasha Davied, University of Kentucky, 2011 recipient of the NTA Pat & Jim Host Scholarship 


"This was the opportunity of a lifetime. To be able to experience the real w1.24.12Golbertorld and meet professionals from all over the country is something not many students get to do. I am extremely grateful to have gotten this opportunity. As a student, I am rarely approached with such open-mindedness and willingness to help. These professionals were truly welcoming and interested. Thank you."
—Geraldine Golbert, University of Central Florida, 2011 recipient of the NTA Eric Friedheim Scholarship


1.24.12Howell"During the appointments, I really appreciated that my mentor would take the time to explain the lingo they were using, or an inside tip about the industry, and the individual we had the appointment with would sometimes follow up with their own advice. I was given many opportunities and met a great variety of people. I commend Tourism Cares and NTA for their overwhelming support of college students hoping to break into the field! I would highly recommend all facets of this program to anyone, from donating to make the scholarships possible, to recommending that students apply for the scholarships. Thank you so much."
—Cicily Howell, University of Utah, 2011 recipient of the NTA Utah/Keith Griffall Scholarship 

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Find Your Space with March Courier‘s Destinations (and Drinks) 

Question: What do Africa, the Holy Land, Niagara, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Boston, Branson and Wine & Spirits have in common?

Answer: TheCourierLogo March issue of Courier magazine. This is your last chance to be included in the issue that has the destinations (and drinks) listed above. If you want to be inside this spirited edition of Courier, with both print and digital circulation, contact us by e-mail or call  +1.859.264.6559. Space deadline is Thursday, Jan. 26.

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4 Ways for Small Business to Eye the Big Picture 

In "Business Rx: What to Watch This Year for Small Business" (The Washington4 red Post), journalist Cliff Rossi suggests small business owners and managers keep an eye on national and global events, especially in these four areas:

  1. Market psychology: By checking consumer confidence indices (examples here and here), you can "get a pulse on customer psychology to help determine whether 2012 will be a year of playing offense or defense." Advice: Don’t make any major moves until the outlook remains positive for several months.
  2. Economic policy: 2012 is an election year, so you can count on hearing lots of plans and promises for helping small business. Advice: Don’t expect helpful policy measures to emerge until after next year.
  3. Credit: After a record-breaking year in 2011, the Small Business Administration will be unlikely to lend as much cash in 2012, and credit from banks will remain tight. Advice: Watch for local government initiatives but focus on exploring private sources of capital.
  4. Economic performance: Rossi views the debt crisis in Europe as the real wild card for 2012: As long as it lingers, it will depress financial markets. He also sees unemployment remaining high as long as the housing market is weak.

Rossi’s advice overall: Focus on maintaining your business’s core value, don’t overreach in your market, and preserve capital where possible. The full story is here.

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Industry News and Updates

  • With year-long repairs expected to begin late this summer, the Washington Monument will remain closed well into 2013.
  • Analysts expect the U.S. average for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline to reach $4 to $4.25 when the market peaks this spring. Click here for prices (and explanations) of gas in other countries.
  • After international arrivals grew 4 percent in 2011 to reach 980 million, the prediction for 2012 is to top 1 billion tourist arrivals.
  • To coincide with COTTM in Beijing, April 18-20, NTA will coordinate a road show on April 16. For details please contact Haybina Hao, NTA’s director of international development.

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