Tuesday Newsletter – April 14, 2009
April 14, 2009
Volume 29, Issue 15
Interested in advertising in Tuesday? E-mail Kelley Burchell at kelley.burchell@NTAstaff.com.
Something’s Fishy About the Spring Meet Icebreaker
Mexico Tourism Board Responding to Stories Regarding Violence
NTA Commends Obama for Easing Cuba Travel Restrictions
Work Smarter: Save the Date for NTA Convention ’09 in Reno
Latest Travelhorizons Survey Finds Intent to Travel Not Declining
Take Part in a Pair of USTA Programs
U.S. Secure Flight Initiative Takes Off
Earth Day is Easy
Enhance Your NTA Profile with Your Logo and Photos
Impact Key Decision-makers in Monterey
April 17 is Tourism Cares Day in Gettysburg
Reserve Space in the Only NTA-Endorsed Publication for Group Leaders
This year’s Spring Meet attendees will have the chance to see what Travel & Leisure Magazine and TripAdvisor named as one of the top 10 attractions in the United States, the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Recognized for its "Seafood Watch" program and its influential role in transforming seafood buying habits across the United States, the aquarium seeks to introduce visitors to the habitats of California’s central coast. Visitors can learn about these unique ecosystems through signature exhibits such as the three-story living Kelp Forest and the "Monterey Bay Habitats" exhibit, which is home to an impressive variety of sharks and schooling fishes. The aquarium also allows guests to see an octopus den, walk beneath crashing waves and stroll amid shorebirds and gliding bat rays.
Register for Spring Meet today and not only will you get to experience this fascinating attraction, but you’ll also open doors to partnership building and new ideas that will take your business into the future. If you register by May 1, you’ll receive the discounted early-bird registration rate.
Also, if you are already registered for Spring Meet, be sure to RSVP for the Spring Meet event on Facebook so you can start making connections with other attendees.
The Mexico Tourism Board has stepped up its efforts to address what the organization says are "unfair and exaggerated reports" of the drug-related violence that are having a negative impact on tourism. Mexico, one of NTA’s national tourist office members, has created a special Web site — http://www.mexico-update.com/ — that includes regular updates, travel tips, an FAQ document, an interactive map and a letter from Mexico Tourist Board President Oscar Fitch.
In the letter, Fitch writes, "Images of drug cartel activity are being used incorrectly, making it seem as if it is happening in the whole country when in fact, the areas experiencing drug-related issues are concentrated in specific cities located in the northwestern border of Mexico, representing only 5 of 2,400 counties in the entire country."
In addition to maintaining the Web site, the Tourism Board staff has sent representatives to five U.S. cities to conduct press conferences. The "Setting the Record Straight" media briefings are taking place in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and New York City.
In a related effort, Performance Media Group, LLC, will conduct a Virtual Mexico Expo, a series of sessions centered on travel to Mexico. The first session will take place April 17-18, followed by events on May 13 and June 10.
The live online events will include tour operators, suppliers, travel agents and consumers to talk in detail about what is happening in Mexico. After the sessions are complete, the presentations, videos and panel discussions will be made available on-demand for viewing. For more information about the Virtual Mexico Expo or to register to participate, visit http://www.virtualmexicoexpo.com/.
NTA applauds the Obama administration for the decision yesterday to lift the ban on Cuban Americans traveling to Cuba, which will allow Cuban Americans to travel freely between the two countries for the first time since 1982. NTA will continue to support the freedom for all Americans to travel to Cuba by supporting related legislation currently in Congress — The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act (H.R. 874 and S. 428).
"NTA commends President Obama and his team for lifting restrictions on Cuban Americans wishing to visit their families in Cuba," said NTA President Lisa Simon, CTP. "While this is certainly a step in the right direction, NTA will continue to support the right of all Americans to travel to Cuba. Lifting the travel ban to Cuba is long overdue and we look forward to the time when all restrictions are lifted."
A new poll by CNN shows that two-thirds of Americans surveyed think the U.S. should lift the travel ban, and three-quarters think the U.S. should end its estrangement with the country. NTA enthusiastically agrees with the findings of this poll and will continue to fight for the freedom to travel by supporting the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act Team and reaching out to Congress.
Re-examination of travel restrictions is part of the association’s advocacy priorities and was included as part of the seven recommendations submitted to President Obama and leaders of Congress as result of a December 2008 summit of travel and tourism organizations.
Everyone knows about working harder, as packaged travel professionals are doing that on a daily basis. Mark your calendars for Nov. 14-18 and see how the 2009 NTA Annual Convention can help you work smarter. Here’s how:
- Affordable pricing: With fees remaining at 2008 levels for early-bird registrations and room rates from our Reno hotel partners as low as $54 for operators and $58 for suppliers and DMO, NTA Convention pays for itself.
- Streamlined schedule allows you the flexibility to come in, focus on the business at hand and then, if your budget dictates, you can get back to the office knowing that the two or three days you spent at the Convention were well worth the investment.
- Effective business appointments are longer this year (10 minutes) and are designed around the way tour operators are doing business today. Operators can leave the Convention with complete product ideas and new itineraries, and suppliers and DMOs will get expanded, quality business.
- With the World Religious Travel Expo being conducted in the same place as the NTA Convention, it’s like getting two conventions in one trip, since there will be more potential partners and new markets at your fingertips.
In a time when budgets are stretched, NTA’s Convention is the best value around. Streamlined, effective and affordable … now that’s working smarter!
Registration opens May 19 so mark your calendar for that date so you can sign up to join NTA in Reno, Nevada. If you want to know more about the enhanced Convention format, visit NTAonline.com.
The most recent Travelhorizons survey, released April 1, finds that despite continuing reports of the decline of perceived unnecessary business and meeting travel and postponed leisure vacations, travel in the United States remains robust.
The February 2009 edition of the survey of 2,200 U.S. adults, which is conducted by YPartnership in conjunction with the U.S. Travel Association every 90 days, revealed that almost two-thirds (63 percent) of U.S. adults are planning to take at least one overnight trip primarily for leisure purposes during the next six months. This figure is up slightly over the 60 percent figure reported in January 2008.
The likelihood of traveling is greater for those with a household income above $75,000, as eight out of 10 households falling into this income bracket are planning at least one overnight trip for leisure purposes during the next six months. The study also found that 16 percent of adults are planning to take at least one overnight trip primarily for business purposes during the next six months.
One area where the economy does seem to be having an impact is in the length of stay. As a cost-saving measure, more than half of all travelers who said they are likely to modify their future travel behavior plan to do so by staying fewer nights. This type of cutback by both business and leisure travelers is likely to have a significant impact on the lodging, cruising and attraction industries in particular.
For more information about the survey’s findings, visit the publications section of http://www.ypartnership.com/.
The United States Travel Association is leading the charge again this year for the upcoming Promoting National Travel and Tourism Week, which will take place May 9-17. In addition to providing an official planning toolkit to help tourism businesses promote this special week, the organization also is sponsoring its first-ever U.S. Travel Rally Day.
Travel Rally Day, which is Tuesday, May 12, is an effort to bring to light how travel fuels jobs and economies throughout the United States. U.S. Travel is asking CVB staff members to partner with business leaders and personnel from hotels, meeting facilities, transportation providers, attractions, restaurants and others, to engage elected officials and media on that specific day. These efforts can go a long way toward helping turn the tide against the difficulties that the travel industry has experienced in recent months, by using the Travel Matters theme as a rallying point.
U.S. Travel has launched another new initiative, the "Face of Travel" campaign, as part of its Meetings Mean Business program. Travel professionals who embody the character and hardworking spirit of the travel industry are encouraged to apply to be the "Face of Travel" by submitting a 45- to 60-second video — due by April 24 at noon (ET) — telling why they are the "face of travel" and how business travel, meetings and events are important to them, their company and their community.
The winner will receive $5,000 and become the newest spokesperson for the industry, including interaction with the media, meetings with policymakers and possible appearances in advertisements.
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration announced the implementation of the Secure Flight program, which shifts pre-departure watch list matching responsibilities from individual aircraft operators to TSA. This recommendation, which was part of the final report presented by the 9/11 Commission, is a way of ensuring a fair and consistent watch list matching process across all airlines.
So far, TSA officials have taken over watch list matching responsibilities for domestic commercial flights with four volunteer aircraft operators and they expect to add more carriers in the next few months. During this transition period, passengers will provide full name, date of birth and gender when making an airline reservation to determine if the passenger’s name is on a No Fly or other selected list.
By adding date of birth and gender to the data collected, officials can more effectively help prevent misidentification of passengers who have similar names to people on the watch list. Besides using the date of birth and gender, TSA also takes into account the results of the existing redress process, through which people who have been wrongly placed, but since removed from, watch lists.
The second stage of implementation, which is expected to begin in late 2009, will assume the watch list matching function for passengers on international flights from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and international air carriers. For more information on Secure Flight and other TSA programs, visit http://www.tsa.gov/.
Over the past year you’ve heard a lot from NTA about the importance of green practices and protecting the environment. Through holding its first green Convention in Pittsburgh last November and forming a partnership with Sustainable Travel International, NTA has taken strides to raise awareness for green issues. With Earth Day 2009 coming up next Wednesday, April 22, you have another chance to take part in aiding the green movement.
This year’s celebration marks the launching of Earth Day Network’s year-long Green Generation Campaign. The campaign’s core principles include:
- A carbon-free future based on renewable energy that will end our common dependency on fossil fuels, including coal.
- An individual’s commitment to responsible, sustainable consumption.
- Creation of a new green economy that lifts people out of poverty by creating millions of quality green jobs and transforms the global education system into a green one.
You can learn out more about the Green Generation Campaign or to find out ways you can get involved with Earth Day, visit EDN’s Web site. Additional details about NTA’s green efforts are available if you click here.
The latest in NTA’s series of "How To" documents is now available. The document walks you through the simple steps to add your company logo and images to your NTA member profile.
This is an incredible new benefit, as it allows you to increase your online marketing exposure with your NTA partners and offers another way you can highlight your destination, attraction or tour product. To get started, simply log on using your e-mail address and password and select "Manage my Images."
To view all of the "How To" documents, please click here.
NTA’s Tour Operator Spring Meet, June 4-6, is the premier gathering place for 150 important travel buyers in the packaged travel industry. Plus, this year there will be an additional 50 NACTA travel agents in Monterey, California to participate in this event.
If you are looking for a way to directly deliver your company’s message to this valuable audience, sponsorship is the key. Tour suppliers and DMOs who sponsor receive a complimentary registration to attend, sponsor promotions and more.
In recognition of the Tourism Cares for Gettysburg restoration project of the George Spangler Farm, Gettysburg Mayor William E. Troxell has proclaimed April 17 as Tourism Cares Day. Tourism Cares will bring together nearly 300 tourism industry volunteers together on that day to kick-off a major restoration of the historic Spangler Farm, a Civil War field hospital just outside the battlefield boundary lines.
The George Spangler Farm was recently purchased by the Gettysburg Foundation to protect the historically significant site from private development. The 80-acre farm is located at what was the logistical center of the Union battlefield during the three-day Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863. During and after the battle, Spangler Farm served as a field hospital for both Confederate and Union soldiers.
Until last year, the site was privately owned and is in need of considerable restoration. Volunteers will work to bring back the authenticity of the farm, restoring original buildings, demolishing modern structures, landscaping, cleaning and much more. The restoration of the property will further the Gettysburg Foundation’s campaign to preserve Gettysburg to give visitors a sense of how the town actually appeared in 1863.
The 2009 NTA Trip Planner for group leaders, which will be published in August 2009, offers a great way for you to get your product, destination or service in front of 20,000 travel professionals, including actively planning group leaders and your NTA tour operator colleagues.
Tour suppliers and DMOs are encouraged to promote themselves to these buyers through display advertising. Tour operator members can purchase a listing in the Tour Operator Directory portion of the publication, which includes your company’s contact information, 75 words of text and color logo.
According to the 2008 Tour Operator Profile:
- In 2008, 31 percent of NTA tour operator sales volume resulted from group leader sales
- NTA operators ranked group leaders as the No. 1 distribution channel that they would like to continue to grow in the future
The space deadline for the NTA Trip Planner for group leaders is May 1, so don’t miss your chance to reach this key audience. Contact advertising@NTAstaff.com or call 800.682.8886, ext. 4241 (U.S. and Canada) or +1.859.226.4241 for more information or to reserve your space.