January 14, 2004
January 14, 2004: Volume 24; Issue 1
|NTA members (on couch from left) Tom and Diane Jaffa and Scott Knapp, meet with Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.) during a 2003 Grassroots Symposium Capitol Hill visit.|
If you’re sitting on the fence about whether to participate in this year’s Grassroots Symposium, consider these questions:
- Is your business affected when the Department of Homeland Security increases the national threat level?
- Would you appreciate some clarification on the exempt or non-exempt status of tour directors?
If you answered yes to either or both of those questions, consider expressing your views on these issues and others affecting the travel and tourism industry when NTA members visit federal legislators during Grassroots Symposium Feb. 23-25 in Washington, D.C.
Part of the symposium is designated to teaching participants how to get their points across when speaking with lawmakers or members of their staffs. Among the items NTA members will be asked to discuss with legislators this year are the establishment of an Office of Traveler Impact Analysis within the Department of Homeland Security, which could offer input on the impact threat level changes and other governmental actions have on travel and tourism. Also on the agenda will be discussion of the need to update the Fair Labor Standards Act, which would clarify the tour operator-tour director relationship. Both of these issues, as well as others on the agenda, affect the majority of NTA members and how they do business on a daily basis.
Past Symposium participants report that legislators and their staff members welcomed the interaction available during Hill visits.
"They want to hear the issues from real people and not just from someone on a letterhead," said Michael J. Hardy with the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, N.Y., who attended Symposium for the first time in 2003. "In the industry, I would parallel it to sending a sales kit versus doing an office call or meeting a client. You’re always going to have a better business transaction if you’ve met someone face-to-face. I would encourage people to go just because you make connections that can matter for the whole industry."
Aside from preparations for and the Capitol Hill visits themselves, Symposium participants will enjoy several complimentary social events and participate in panel discussions.
Secure your spot to make your views known at the Grassroots Symposium today. Call Todd Hamilton at 800-682-8886, ext. 4205, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tour operators who have not yet registered for the 2004 Tour Operator Spring Meet can still take advantage of the early-bird rate through Jan. 23. Register by this date and save $50 per attendee for this NTA family gathering, scheduled March 24-27 in Little Rock, Ark.
Just click here to register or to learn more about the schedule, Partnering Session, educational offerings, social events, sightseeing tours and fams.
In today’s economy, many business people are striving to do two things: cut costs and increase networking and business opportunities. NTA’s Recruitment Rewards program can help you do both in 2004.
When you recruit a new tour operator member, you become a member of the Recruitment Rewards Club. Recruitment Rewards Club members receive $100 off their next Convention registration for each tour operator they recruit to join NTA.
It’s as easy as that – one new tour operator member, $100 off, two new tour operator members, $200 off, and on and on. There is no limit to the number of tour operators you may recruit or the amount of Convention Cash you can earn. And while you’re earning Convention Cash, you’re also helping build a stronger, more diverse base of business partners through NTA. It’s a win-win situation.
Don’t think you have what it takes to recruit a new member? We’ve provided all the tools you’ll need on NTA Online in the Recruitment Rewards section. Click here to access these recruitment resources now, or go to the NTA Online home page, click on "Member Information," then "Recruitment Rewards."
There are three easy ways to participate:
- Share a Membership Application with an industry colleague who should join NTA. Simply print your name on the "How did you hear about NTA" line of the application.
- E-mail email@example.com or call NTA’s Member Services Team and request a Recruitment Kit, complete with everything you’ll need to get started, including the names of potential NTA tour operator members.
- Send NTA the names of your industry colleagues who should join and leave the rest up to us. We’ll check to see who is not a member, send them membership information and mention your name as the person who recommended them.
New members create new opportunities for all NTA members. And a Convention Cash reward will help you and your company’s bottom line. Get involved and start reaping the rewards today.
The National Tourism Foundation will award the first Chuck Gee-Hawaii Scholarship in the amount of $1,500 later this year thanks to the generosity of Gee’s family and friends. Gee, dean emeritus at University of Hawaii’s School of Travel Industry Management celebrated his 70th birthday in August, but his gifts came to the Foundation in the form of scholarship donations totaling more than $24,000.
Family, friends and industry associates traveled from Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Taiwan to be part of Gee’s birthday festivities. A representative from the Chinese government flew in to express best wishes, and the governor of Hawaii and the mayor of Honolulu each issued a proclamation declaring August 28 "Chuck Yim Gee Day."
The only gifts Gee agreed to accept for this birthday were in the form of donations to the scholarship fund, which had been established in 2000 to honor Gee following his retirement after 23 years of service to the University of Hawaii’s School of Travel Industry Management. Until Gee’s birthday celebration, the scholarship fund was $2,000 below the necessary endowment amount.
"The Foundation is thrilled that the Gee-Hawaii Scholarship will award this year," said Foundation Executive Director Randy Fiveash. "We want to congratulate Chuck Gee on reaching this personal milestone and commend him for his initiative and generosity. It is our hope that his creative fund-raising efforts will set an example for others who want to build scholarship funds."
Each year, the Chuck Gee-Hawaii Scholarship will be designated to a student attending the University of Hawaii’s School of Travel Industry Management.
"I hope to keep the scholarship fund healthy so future generations of students interested in the hospitality/tourism management field can benefit from its availability," said Gee.
To donate to any National Tourism Foundation scholarship fund, contact the Foundation at 546 E. Main St., Lexington, KY 40508. Please share your organization’s unique and effective fund-raising ideas with the Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In recent tough times, tour operator members have said their businesses have been bolstered by partnering with their fellow family members within the association. Some of those partnerships got their start at the Partnering Session at the Tour Operator Spring Meet.
Set for Friday, March 26, the Partnering Session offers participants an opportunity to meet with other tour operators to sell or buy programs and share information. There is no cost for participating in the session, which will feature "buyers" walking the floor and "sellers" seated in booths.
In order to participate in the session and have basic information about your company listed in the Partnering Session registry, be sure to register by Feb. 13. Use the registration form in your Spring Meet registration brochure, or access a registration form by clicking here. Mail the form to NTA, Attn: Member Services, 546 E. Main St., Lexington, KY 40508.
NTA and the Receptive Services Association have established an important alliance focused on bringing new educational and business opportunities to members of both associations. As part of that alliance, NTA tour operator members working in the inbound market are invited to attend the RSA Summit, Feb. 11-12, in New York.
Registration is free and includes access to the Marketplace and the North American Destination Showcase.
For more information about the RSA Summit, visit http://www.rsana.com/ or contact RSA Headquarters at 856-638-0423.
NTA’s Government Relations Committee is looking for unique items to put up for bid at its silent auction during Tour Operator Spring Meet. The auction will benefit TourPAC and the Government Issues Fund.
Do you have a travel package you’re willing to donate or an unusual tangible item you think tour operators would like? Support NTA’s legislative efforts on Capitol Hill by sending in your donation by March 12. Be sure to include information about the retail value of the donation and how you’d like to be listed on the bid sheet.
Mail donations to NTA, Attn: Government Relations, 546 E. Main St., Lexington, KY 40508. If you have questions about the auction, please contact Matt Grayson, director of Industry and Government Relations, at 800-682-8886, ext. 4250, or e-mail him at email@example.com.
There are only a handful of sponsorship opportunities still available for the 2004 Tour Operator Spring Meet in Little Rock, Ark., scheduled March 24-27. Join the elite group of tour suppliers and DMOs who attend Spring Meet each year by becoming a sponsor.
Sponsors are entitled to attend this operator-exclusive event, with access to most of the events and functions throughout the four-day meeting. Don’t miss this valuable opportunity to network with the best of the best in the industry.
For more information on sponsorships, contact Annie Barret at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-682-8886, ext. 4238.
Tour Operator Spring Meet will be a great chance to catch up with your family of fellow tour operators. And a family get-together just wouldn’t be the same without a few outings – in this case, sightseeing tours and pre- and post-fam tours.
The Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau has put together a group of sightseeing tours that highlight the Little Rock area’s diverse entertainment, recreational and historical venues. Tour historic homes, learn about state’s African American heritage or trace Bill Clinton’s political procession to the presidency.
Pre- and post-fam tours will give you and other NTA family members a chance to explore all that Arkansas and its surrounding neighbors have to offer. Find out why Arkansas is known as The Natural State with visits to several state parks, or venture along the Great River Road to some of the Delta’s legendary destinations. The Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism has plenty in store for all the NTA kinfolk.
Don’t dawdle in registering for sightseeing and fam tours; the deadline for all Spring Meet tours is Feb. 20. You may use the registration forms in your Spring Meet registration brochure or access those same forms online by clicking here. Mail your registration forms to the Little Rock CVB, Attention: Theresa Kyzer, P.O. Box 3232, Little Rock, AR 72203.
NTA has announced a partnership with The Travel Institute focused on enhancing the association’s Certified Tour Professional program and supporting the Institute’s cooperative initiative to establish educational standards for the travel industry.
The Travel Institute, established in 1964 to provide education, professional development and certification to travel industry professionals, organized an industry summit earlier this month for association leaders to discuss the need for collaboration in the establishment and promotion of clear and consistent educational standards. NTA joined other associations at this event to explore mutually beneficial methods to standardize professional knowledge, credentials and certifications.
"When the Institute presented their ideas to the NTA Board of Directors at our November 2003 meeting, they got a very enthusiastic ‘thumbs-up’ from everyone there," said NTA President Hank Phillips, CTP. "NTA’s no. 1 commitment is to create a thriving packaged travel industry. I can think of no better way to affect positive change on the educational front than by assisting in the development of a common body of basic knowledge for the entire travel industry that includes important content about packaged travel."
NTA also is in discussions with The Travel Institute to review and update the CTP curriculum, materials and testing process. This proposed project will be done in the context of the industry standardization initiative, and the CTP program would use the resulting core content as a foundation for specialized training in packaged travel.
Because the partnership is in its initial phases, NTA members currently working on their CTP designation will see no immediate effect in the certification process. NTA will keep members informed of any changes or updates to the program.
The partnership is a win-win for both entities, said David Preece, CTC, president and chief executive officer of The Travel Institute.
"This relationship with NTA serves as a great model for industry-wide cooperation in the effort to increase knowledge, skills and professionalism," Preece said. "Not only will NTA be very involved in this important standardization initiative, but they recognize the need to keep their certification program current and relevant."
NTA has compiled the following articles in an effort to educate members about the ever-changing international travel market and the growth potential that global travelers offer the packaged travel industry.
October 2003 International Arrivals to U.S. First Sign of Positive Growth Since Early 2003. During October, the United States welcomed 2.9 million international visitors, a one percent increase over last year, marking the first positive growth since January 2003. According to the U.S. Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, the growth of inbound travel contributed to the lessening of the year-to-date decline that now stands at less than six percent. Year-to-date arrivals totaled over 28.7 million visitors.
To access the monthly arrivals data that provides arrival totals and percent change for 11 world regions and 19 countries, click here. (U.S. Office of Travel and Tourism Industries)
North American Arrivals to Ireland Grow. North American visitors to Ireland grew 6 percent in 2003, according to Ireland tourism minister John O’Donoghue. "A key element of this story has been the restoration of key access routes and capacity from the United States," O’Donoghue said. Overall, overseas arrivals increased 4 percent, to 6 million visitors. O’Donoghue said Ireland has targeted 4.4 percent growth in arrivals this year. (Travel Management Daily)
Worldwide Passenger Traffic to Grow by 7 Percent in 2004. Latest forecasts from the International Air Transport Association suggest global scheduled airline passenger traffic will increase by 7-8 percent in 2004, its first year of growth since 2001. Announcing IATA’s objectives for 2004, director general and chief executive, Giovanni Bisignani, said: "Positive growth is expected in 2004, with a bounce-back of 7-8 percent in international RPKs (passenger traffic), with Asia Pacific leading all regions. (Weekly Travel Industry News)
Tour operators who wish to advertise in NTA’s 2004 Student Direct Mailer still have a chance to do so up until the new extended deadline, Jan. 20. This publication will be mailed in March to 33,000 U.S. and Canadian school principals and activity planners focused on student travel.
Any remaining ad space not purchased by tour operators will be opened to DMOs and tour suppliers after Jan. 20. Call 800-682-8886, ext. 4288 (U.S. and Canada) or 859-226-4288 with any questions or to request an ad reservation form. Reservation forms should be faxed to Dawn Pettus, CTP, at 859-226-4447.
Tour suppliers and DMOs, can you afford NOT to advertise in a primary planning resource used by 95 percent of NTA’s tour operators?
The 2004-2005 NTA Tour Supplier/DMO Directory will have a full one-year shelf-life (June 2004-May 2005) and is virtually guaranteed to be utilized by NTA tour operators when planning future itineraries.
Display advertising space is now available for this much-used resource. New this year is an opportunity to enhance your company’s or destination’s listing with bold print, highlighting and a black-and-white logo for only $600.
Companies may also take advantage of delayed billing in June. To find out more about increasing your visibility in this important directory, call 800-682-8886, ext. 4350.
If cutting costs is a priority for your business this year, Paymentech would like to help.
Paymentech, an NTA Corporate Partner, offers members reduced credit card processing rates. The company processes approximately 3.4 billion bankcard transactions annually with $109 billion in credit card sales volume.
"We’ve been using Paymentech to process our credit cards for more than five years and have been completely satisfied with both the service and savings we receive," said Lois Steliga, CTP, president of Travel America Inc. in Milwaukee, Wis. "In fact, the amount I save on my credit card processing fees each year pays for my NTA membership."
To see if your company can save money, take the Paymentech challenge. Click here and return it via fax to the number indicated. There is no obligation.
If you have a job listing to post in Tuesday’s Job Marketplace, please fax your listing to Tuesday Editor at 859-226-4447. The cost is $1 per word for NTA members, and $1.50 per word for nonmembers. NTA will send an invoice upon publication of the posting. Members also may post job listings for free on NTA’s online forums. Just log on to http://www.ntaonline.com/ and click the "forums" link at the top of the home page. Then, post your listing in the discussion folder marked "Job Opportunities.".