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The Slate Is Set: Board Voting Begins in One Week | NTA Reps Work to Bolster Tourism Markets

October 25, 2011

Volume 31, Issue 44

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The Slate Is Set: Board Voting Begins in One Week
NTA Reps Work to Bolster Tourism Markets
High-flying Prize Winners and Record-breaking Registrations
Travel Organizations Help Begich Defeat Harmful Legislation 
10 Convention Can’t-miss Highlights
Attend the UMA EXPO—for Free!
Sightseeing Tours Still Available in Vegas
Staples now Offers Discounts on Break Room and Cleaning Supplies, Too
Webinar to Spotlight UK-to-U.S. Travel
Registration Opens for Tourism Cares Pensacola Project
End of budget? Start of budget? We can make it work!
Industry News and Updates

The Slate Is Set: Board Voting Begins in One Week  

The NTA Nominating Committee has announced the slate of candidates for the 2012 Board of Directors. After carefully vetting the applications for qualifications, geographic representation and business type, the committee composed the following slate: 

Vice-Chairman: Mark Hoffmann, Sports Leisure Vacations
Secretary/Treasurer: Anne Davis, Cruises & Tours Worldwide
Tour Supplier Director: Jill Pongonis, Busch Gardens Williamsburg
DMO Director: Lisa Itel, Travel Oregon
Tour Operator Director (two-year term): Aniseh Dalju, Destination America
Tour Operator Director (one-year term): Justin Osbon, Image Tours
Tour Operator Director (two-year term): Grant Pollard, Travel Riviera
Tour Operator Director (two-year term): Kate Simpson, Academic Travel Abroad

The committee will accept additional nominations from the membership through Oct. 31. If you are interested in nominating someone "from the floor," please contact Katey Pease.

Ballots will be distributed by e-mail to members Nov. 1; voting will open Nov. 1 and end during Convention ’11. Operators will vote for operator candidates and officers, suppliers for supplier candidates, and DMOs for DMO candidates.

You can learn more about the candidates and ask questions during "Meet the Candidates" sessions via Webcast prior to Convention and in person at Convention ’11 in Las Vegas.

After voting closes at Convention, the results will be tallied and the 2012 NTA Board will be introduced in Las Vegas.

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NTA Reps Work to Bolster Tourism Markets 

Last week, NTA representatives worked to rebuild travel to Cuba and Canada by taking the stage in Washington, D.C., and Toronto:

NTA Presses for Unrestricted U.S.-Cuba Travel
Lisa Simon, NTA president, was the keynote speaker during a Friday video conference focused on the impact of the U.S. travel ban to Cuba. The conference 10.25.11LisaCubawas hosted by the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, D.C.Simon attributed the recent increase in U.S.-to-Cuba travel to new guidelines based on President Barack Obama’s executive order issued in early 2011. She said remaining restrictions hinder economic and cultural development in both countries, though.

"Elimination of the travel ban would immediately create an estimated 15,000 and 20,000 new jobs in the United States," said Simon. "We applaud President Obama’s actions. But it’s not enough."

Simon added that support for eliminating travel restrictions comes not only from the travel sector, but includes groups representing business, religion, agriculture, academia, cultural institutions and human rights. Story here.

Rebuilding U.S.-to-Canada Tourism at Ontario Symposium
On Thursday, Simon addressed members of the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership at the North American Trade Symposium in Toronto. Simon’s message: The path to rebuilding U.S. tourism to Canada lies in tapping growth markets.

Simon cited a dramatic rise in the number of tour operators and suppliers creating new programs, products and services that cater to the interests of upward-trending markets: intergenerational families, faith-based groups, adventure seekers, students and baby boomers, as well as independent travelers. She advised the audience, comprised mostly of suppliers, to find tour operators who can help them develop new product, as each market has its own nuances.

Discussing the reasons behind the decrease in U.S. travel to Canada, Simon reassured symposium attendees that Canada remains the No. 1 international destination for NTA operators, with more than 300 member companies packaging travel to Canada. Story here.

Travel Talk Radio Features Association’s Work
Simon was also interviewed on Travel Talk Radio on Sunday by host Sandy Dhuyvetter. To hear the interview, archived on the radio station’s Web site, click here.

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High-flying Prize Winners and Record-breaking Registrations 

Look who will be making their entrance like an A-list celebrity at the Tuesday eveningIt's Vegas, Baby! Icebreaker at Convention ’11 in Vegas:

  • Dr. Gordon Chapman, Freedom Tours, Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
  • Chris Donnelly, Sugar Tours, West Dover, Vermont
  • Ilene Ferguson, Alamo World Travel and Tours, Alamo, California
  • Elaine Wilson, Legendary Journeys, Sarasota, Florida


These lucky members were chosen in a random drawing from among all registered tour operators to win an unforgettable helicopter ride to the event, provided by NTA member Maverick Helicopters. They join fellow helicopter ride prize winners:

  • Kerry Simmons, Coach Tours, Brookfield, Connecticut
  • Scott Angeletti , Sports Leisure Vacations, Sacramento, California
  • Shelda Rees, Chattanooga Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Lori DiMeglio, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Tampa, Florida

Convention ’11 registrations are also sky high! Total registration numbers have already surpassed previous years-including more than 300 first-time attendees.

NTA is the place to be December 5–9 in Las Vegas! Register here! 

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Travel Organizations Help Begich Defeat Harmful Legislation  

Last week U.S. Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) asked NTA to help defeat an amendment to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s annual appropriation bill. The amendment, proposed by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), would have precluded expenditures on scenic byways, tourism information centers and historic projects—all of which enhance tourism.

Thinking the vote would take place that evening, NTA quickly reached out to its strategic partners, including organizations supporting the travel sector focus on the Federal Highway Reauthorization bill, to get statements of support to Senator Begich and other senators prior to the vote.

When the vote was eventually taken the following day, the collective efforts from tourism sector organizations prompted a 59–39 vote tabling the amendment, effectively killing it. Sen. Begich specifically cited NTA’s opposition to the amendment in his presentation on the Senate floor.

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10 Convention Can’t-miss Highlights 

Think of the November edition of Courier as your official Convention ’11 guide. This must-read issue is jam-packed with ways to make the most of the industry’s top10.25.11Courier business-building show:

At NTA’s Convention in Las Vegas, make sure you…

  1. Reconnect with Steve Hartman at the Opening Ceremony, p. 34
  2. Follow the advice of NTA Chair Cathy Greteman about "the spirit of opportunity," p. 6 
  3. Realize that "NTA people are friendly and don’t bite," Andrew Grieve, Discover Travel and Tours, Worcester, England, p. 46 
  4. Go ziplining in Bootleg Canyon as part of one of the Monday sightseeing tours, p. 67
  5. "Inject some humor or lightheartedness into your conversations," Greg Eckhart, Travel Portland, p. 10
  6. Learn how to "treat ’em right" during Phil Bruno’s Thursday educational session, p. 60
  7. Wrap, rock and bid for Tourism Cares, p. 38
  8. Get to know your Convention ’11 sponsors, p. 78
  9. "Don’t [get] discouraged if you feel that you didn’t get enough appointments. The open floor will allow you to schedule additional appointments during Convention," Brian Butterworth, The Red Lion Inn, Stockbridge, Massachusetts, p. 49
  10. Learn how NTA’s collaboration with UMA at Convention ’13 will benefit you, p. 74

Repeat advertisers in this issue are The Berkely Group (TPP), Blue Man Group, Buca di Beppo, Circle Line Sightseeing Yachts Inc., Empire State Building Observatory, The Huntington Library Art Collections & Botanical Gardens, Macy’s Inc., Maid of the Mist CorporationMashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center, Mississippi Development Authority Tourism Division, New Jersey Division of Travel & Tourism, The Red Lion Inn, and Yankee Candle Company Inc. 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: 

February Issue: Casinos/Gaming; Alberta; British Columbia; Idaho; Montana; North Dakota & South Dakota; Wyoming; Atlantic Coast (Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia)
Ad Space: Nov. 30
Editorial: Oct. 31

March Issue: Africa; Holy Land; Toronto & Niagara Region (New York & Canada); Arizona; Colorado; New Mexico; Utah; Boston; Branson, Missouri; Special Section: Wine & Spirits; Guide: Multiple Service Members
Ad Space: Jan. 4
Editorial: Dec. 5

April 2012 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

Click here to view the entire 2012 editorial calendar.

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Attend the UMA EXPO—for Free! 

UMA invites NTA members to attend UMA Motorcoach EXPO 2012. This is an important opportunity to connect with UMA members now, before the NTA-UMA event in 2013. Fill out this form to register today for UMA.

UMA logoUMA President and CEO Victor Parra personally invites NTA members to join UMA in Long Beach, California, Feb. 8–12, 2012: "Come and learn the ins and outs of the motorcoach industry and become familiar with the one piece of equipment we all rely on to make a tour successful—a motorcoach."

UMA members have also been invited to participate at Convention ’11 in Las Vegas.

NTA brings together the people, the products and the markets that build and expand the North American travel industry. UMA is part of that equation.

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Sightseeing Tours Still Available in Vegas 

As long as you’re coming to Las Vegas, you might as well see the sights, right? Complimentary sight-seeing tours are offered Monday, Dec. 5, from 2 to 6 p.m., on a first-received, first-registered basis, and four tours still have openings. If one of the tours described below sounds interesting, sign up here! But do it soon: The deadline to register is Friday, Nov. 4

Shop like a Diva: Shop at one of America’s premier centers for outlet shopping and discover great savings at more than 100 designer brand outlets like Coach, Betsey Johnson, Michael Kors, Last Call Neiman Marcus, Polo Ralph Lauren, William Sonoma Marketplace and many more-all with savings up to 75 percent off every day. Then it’s off to Town Square for refreshments at the locals’ favorite, Blue Martini, and a special meet and greet with a celebrity "diva."

Exhilarating Exhibitions: Start your tour at Bodies the Exhibition, a stunning and controversial exhibit featuring what can best be described as Real Live Dead Bodies (13 bodies and 260 organs!). Then head down the hall to Titanic the Artifact Exhibition to study actual artifacts recovered from two and a half miles beneath the North Atlantic. Next, you’re off to see more bodies at Madame Tussauds! Take pictures with your favorite celebrities at this world-famous wax attraction featuring more than 100 celebrities and 10 interactive experiences. 

Las Vegas Scavenger Hunt on Big Red: Ready for fun? Join us on this scavenger hunt and find both new and old places in the Las Vegas area. You’ll be given descriptions of your destinations; we can’t give you too much information because we don’t want to spoil the surprise destinations! A few of these stops will be offering specialty drinks just for NTA members, but don’t forget that this is a competition! The winner of the scavenger hunt will receive two tickets to the area’s newest tour company, offering combat flight tours.

Going to the Chapel: This tour will take you on a chapel journey from a themed wedding experience (with drinks served by "Elvis") to a surprising Walk-up Window wedding. If history is your passion, visit a chapel that has stood in the same spot for more than 50 years. Your tour will end with a rare glimpse into old Las Vegas’ largest and most spectacular mansion, the Hartland Mansion. Located in the historic 6th Street District, the mansion stands as a monument to the glamour, excitement and elegance that was and is Las Vegas.

All tours will depart from and return to Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. Questions? Contact Teri Laursen by e-mail or at +1.702.874.1400, ext. 7022.

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Staples now Offers Discounts on Break Room and Cleaning Supplies, Too 

Now you can get everything you need for your office in one place and with a discount. NTA Corporate Partner Staples now offers NTA members savings on a new category of office needs: "facility supplies"—break room and cleaning supplies—including:

  • Paper products like coffee cups and napkins
  • Trash receptacles and liners
  • Soap and skin care
  • Mops, brooms and brushes
  • Matting and floor maintenance equipment
  • Facility maintenance supplies
  • Coffee and break room supplies
  • First aid and safety supplies
  • Environmentally conscious products
  • Cleaning chemicals

Make purchasing supplies more convenient and efficient with one-stop shopping through the Staples Advantage program.  Through Staples Advantage, NTA members in the U.S. receive:

  • discounts averaging 60 percent off more than 4,000 items in the pre-priced catalog
  • discounts averaging 40 percent off the large stock catalog
  • 10 percent credit on copy services at retail stores across the U.S.
  • free shipping on orders of US$50 or more

To join the program, e-mail Brian Morin or call 603.223.2091. You’ll get access to, where you’ll be able to order supplies from your computer anytime.

For more information on NTA’s Corporate Partner benefits, click here.

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Webinar to Spotlight UK-to-U.S. Travel 

Inbound-U.S. travel from the United Kingdom is the focus of a Webinar next Tuesday, Nov. 2, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET. The session will cover data and trends on U.K. arrivals, destinations most visited and spending patterns, and is especially recommended for U.S. travel and tourism firms exhibiting at World Travel Mart, Nov. 7–10, in London.

Participants will learn how to use available data to make better marketing decisions for the United Kingdom, long ranked as one of America’s top overseas arrivals markets. The program will highlight critical data gathered by the hosts of the Webinar:  the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI) and the Commercial Service Travel & Tourism Team.

The cost of the Webinar is $50. Click here to register. For questions, contact Anastasia Xenias, Ph.D., at 212.482.1856 or Julie Heizer at 202.482.4904 in the United States, or Stewart Gough in London at 44.020.7894.0459.

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Registration Opens for Tourism Cares Pensacola Project  

Tourism Cares invites everyone in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry to register for this year’s give back project: Tourism Cares for Pensacola. During this event on March 29 and 30, 2012, volunteers will help in two different and equally10.11.11Pensecola TC logo important projects.

The Pensacola Lighthouse has towered over Pensacola Bay since 1858 and is still in use today. As with any historic structure, especially in a coastal environment, the elements play havoc with the facilities. We’ll take on extensive painting projects, tackle several landscaping and parking lot upgrades, and blaze and mulch a nature trail. Our impact on this venerable lighthouse and grounds will enhance the guest experience, and help visitors develop an even greater appreciation for the site’s history.

Volunteers will also have the opportunity to participate in the conservation of Pensacola Bay. We will install native wetland vegetation and nearshore oyster reefs along 1,500 feet of shoreline on Bayou Texar. Primary volunteer duties will include removing invasive species, planting native wetland vegetation, bagging recycled oyster shells and constructing oyster reefs. Restored vegetation and oyster reefs will provide habitat for marine and terrestrial organisms, serve as a buffer between land and water to stabilize the shoreline, and serve as a natural filtration system for runoff and potential pollutants.

Ready to join us in Pensacola? Click here to register.

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End of budget? Start of budget? We Can Make it Work! 

With two months remaining until NTA’s Convention ’11 (Dec. 5–9 in Las Vegas), there’s still time to review your budgets and sponsor at NTA to get noticed by the tour operators. Sponsor promotions are currently underway, and we’d love to start promoting your company today. With a record-breaking number of buyers registered, sponsoring is a great way to make sure your name is seen by those you want to reach.

Convenient billing options are available, so give your budget a look and let us know how we can help pick a sponsorship that’s just perfect for you! Contact Karla DiNardo to learn more today.

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Industry News and Updates

  • Hotwire reports the U.S. cities with the largest price drops in travel products this month are Rochester, New York, for hotel; Knoxville, Tennessee, for air fare; and Honolulu for car rental. See the story for the top five in all categories.
  • With actual bookings up 4.8 percent for the next 12 months, the hotel industry shows strong growth in the business, leisure and group travel segments, according to TravelClick.
  • New York City cab drivers face a $350 fine for non-emergency horn-honking. A new taxi model to be rolled out next November will feature a "low-annoyance horn." 
  • Consumer reach: Facebook now attracts more users than TV during the work day—except for baby boomers.

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