Tuesday Newsletter – April 7, 2009
April 7, 2009
Volume 29, Issue 14
Interested in advertising in Tuesday? E-mail Kelley Burchell at kelley.burchell@NTAstaff.com.
New Twist to Speed Dating at Spring Meet
NTA Joins the Team Supporting Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act
2008 International Visitation to the U.S. Sets Records
Update on NTA Initiative with CBS’ "The Early Show"
WRTA Announces Management Partnership with NTA and IMG Associations
Need NTA Information to Help Prepare Your Next Budget?
NTA New Member List Available
GE Money Ends Travel Consumer Finance Programs
Donate to the NTA Government Relations Silent Auction
Looking for a Trend-y Newsletter?
One Week Left to Register for Tourism Cares for Gettysburg
Impress NTA Tour Operators in Monterey
The NTA Spring Meet, coming up June 4-6 in Monterey, California, offers operators a complete package of education, business, connecting with colleagues and local sightseeing. This year, NTA is introducing a few new twists for Speed Dating, the popular concept NTA pioneered more than five years ago.
First, NTA will be co-locating the Spring Meet with the National Association of Career Travel Agents’ Western Regional Meeting. What that means is that there will be more partners for the Speed Dating session in the form of travel agents looking to increase their bottom line by selling tours. According to a recent NACTA profile survey, tours are already the second highest source of revenue for NACTA agents and they are looking to grow that portion of their business. That makes Speed Dating an even better business outlet for NTA operators looking to make more connections.
Also, NTA will be devising a new format for the event that provides the best of both worlds: more time for your "dates" in a way that allows you to meet with more people. You’ll be traveling in groups and meeting with several people at the same time. It promises to be a great new way that will enhance the productivity of the Speed Dating session.
The early-bird registration deadline for Spring Meet is approaching, and if you register by May 1 you can save more than 30 percent off the regular registration fee.
NTA supports the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act, H.R. 874 and S. 428, which was announced last Tuesday by co-sponsors of the legislation, Senators Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and Michael Enzi, R-Wyo. With more than 700 tour company members, many of which offer travel outbound from the United States, NTA recognizes the importance of this market and the freedom to travel.
In the material distributed last Tuesday by the Senate sponsors, NTA was cited as a leading travel sector organization member of the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Coalition. NTA’s support also is drawing recognition from leading members of Congress. Click here to hear comments about NTA by Rep. Sam Farr, D-Calif., who serves as the co-chair of the House Tourism Caucus.
"NTA has supported this issue for many years, and we now stand strongly behind the passage of this legislation," said NTA President Lisa Simon, CTP. "Americans should have the opportunity to explore the world unfettered by travel and currency restrictions, and we anticipate a very high demand for tours to Cuba through our tour operator members who see phenomenal curiosity for travel there."
Re-examination of travel restrictions, which is addressed by The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act, was one of the seven recommendations submitted to President Obama and leaders of Congress as the result of the December 2008 summit of travel and tourism organizations.
"Once the legislation is passed, success in this new market will depend on helping our tour operators learn about Cuba," Simon said. "We stand ready to assist them in this new business development."
The U.S. Department of Commerce announced that a record 58 million international visitors traveled to the United States during 2008, an increase of nearly 4 percent over 2007. Additionally, spending by international visitors reached a record-breaking $142.1 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States, which represents an increase of more than 16 percent over the previous record from 2007.
While the visitation statistics are positive, the numbers still are below the pre-9/11 numbers in terms of total international travelers (excluding Canada and Mexico) who came to the United States. NTA continues to call for the creation of a cabinet-level position – the Executive Office of Tourism Policy – that would give the travel industry a much larger presence and voice.
This person could help address international visitation numbers, as well as many of the other items NTA has identified as its government relations priority issues for 2009 such as visa and passport procedures and processes; grants for local travel and tourism development; funding for federal lands; and the re-examination of travel bans.
The increased numbers came in spite of a fourth quarter that saw a global pull back on travel. Here are some highlights from the visitation report:
- In 2008, Canadian visitation totaled 18.9 million, up 7 percent for the year, but arrivals from Mexico decreased four percent to 13.8 million visitors.
- Overseas arrivals (excluding Canada and Mexico) totaled 25.3 million, up 6 percent over 2007.
- Although total international arrivals were down 2 percent compared to a record-setting year in 2000, they have increased 33 percent from 2003, the post-9/11 low in arrivals to the United States.
- Visitation from Western Europe was up 12 percent for the year and arrivals from Eastern European arrivals grew 14 percent in 2008.
- Travel from Oceania increased 2 percent in 2008, while arrivals from the Middle East increased 10 percent and African visitation was up 14 percent for the year.
Click here to access the 2008 annual and monthly arrivals data from all regions.
Join NTA April 10 for a national viewing party to see the first NTA-member tour group on "The Early Show" on CBS! If you live in the United States, set your alarm clocks and turn on your TV to your local CBS affiliate. You’ll see St. George, Utah-based Educational Tours and Travel’s River Meadows Ballet Dance Studio group live from New York City.
To catch them on "The Early Show," check your local listings for times in your area. The Educational Tours group could appear as early as 7:30 a.m. (ET), and other audience segments air at 8 and 8:30 a.m. (ET).
NTA recently announced this exclusive opportunity for its tour and receptive operators to give their clients the experience of participating in the live audience at "The Early Show." Groups can tell their friends and family to watch for them on national TV and then receive a free backstage tour following the show. Click here to complete the form to take advantage of this opportunity or contact Catherine Prather for more details.
NTA also has an ad on the CBS "Super Screen" in the heart of New York’s Times Square. The ad directs viewers to www.travelNTA.com, and tour operators can promote their products and companies with a free classified ad on the new site.
To participate, please e-mail NTA Public Relations Manager Sara Spencer your company name, address, contact information, e-mail address, company logo and a 25-word description of your product and/or company (can include anything you would like to promote to the traveling public).
Earlier this year, NTA and the World Religious Travel Association announced plans to co-locate their annual events this year in Reno, Nevada. Now, WRTA has signed an agreement to be fully managed by NTA’s management company, IMG Associations.
NTA and the IMG staff will power the back-of-the-house operations of WRTA, including communications, marketing, member services, administrative support, event management and technology services, as well as selling advertising and corporate partnerships. IMG Associations currently provides management services for NTA and will be supporting WRTA in its expansion efforts over the next three years.
"As an association that has experienced remarkable growth and visibility in its first two years, we are confident that the travel management expertise along with the knowledgeable staff, proven systems and intimate knowledge of the travel business that NTA and its management partner, IMG Associations, provides will further our development as a world-class organization and leader in the travel industry," said WRTA President Kevin J. Wright.
Faith-based tourism is an $18 billion and 300 million traveler market segment and, currently, nearly 35 percent of NTA tour operators offer product in this market.
NTA knows that many members are planning for the upcoming fiscal year budgets or finalizing year-end estimates on current expenses and your association can help you plan. Please contact the NTA Member Services Team, regarding what information you need about NTA events, including Convention and Spring Meet, to help in your planning. NTA also can provide important dates to remember, such as when Convention registration opens.
NTA’s membership base is constantly expanding and changing as your association welcomes new members each month that bring in new product ideas and destinations. The list of new members is updated each month, and there will be a link to it each week when you receive the e-mail with the headlines of NTA’s Tuesday newsletter.
By reviewing this list regularly, you can keep up-to-date on the newest NTA members so you can reach out and welcome them to the association and, if appropriate, make them aware of your products or services. The other important list posted on the NTA Web site is the new tour operator applicants.
One way new members find NTA is via word of mouth. You can go a long way toward helping your association grow by visiting with your industry friends and sharing your favorite NTA memories and why you find value in your membership. For each new member that joins at your recommendation, we’ll send you a gift card.
For more information about the NTA Recruitment Rewards Program, click here.
In January, GE Money’s Sales Finance unit announced that it will change its market strategy to focus on its established industries and discontinue its consumer finance programs in the emerging travel market. The company will work with partners to wind down existing programs over the coming months.
Representatives said this was an extremely difficult decision for GE Money, but one that they believed was the right operational adjustment for this environment. GE Money seeks to invest in markets where it can provide a unique and competitive value to partners and where it will have the strongest long-term growth. Based on the current economic climate, GE Money has been challenged to continue to deliver a strong level of return in the travel business.
The NTA Government Relations team will again be conducting a silent auction at NTA Spring Meet. The money raised will go to support NTA’s Government Issues Fund and TourPAC, and you can aid this effort by donating an item or travel package.
The Government Issues Fund helps the industry work on travel-related issues with national governments. It supports association advocacy efforts, the annual Grassroots Symposium and the legislative tracking service. TourPAC is a voluntary, non-partisan fund supported by NTA members to back U.S. federal candidates that have demonstrated their commitment to the packaged travel industry.
To donate a tour package or item, please e-mail NTA Government Relations Manager Christy Cleveland.
The recent "2009 Group Travel Trends Survey," conducted by the Leisure Group Travel, shows that nearly 70 percent of professional group leaders project planning an equal or higher number of trips in 2009 than in 2008. The findings in this survey are very positive for the outlook and resiliency of leisure group travel as compared to other markets.
Want more information like that to help you make important business decisions? That’s exactly what you can get if you subscribe to The Trend, NTA’s research e-newsletter. You’ll find information on consumer and economic trends, industry research and more in this useful tool designed to help you successfully navigate today’s travel landscape and come out on top.
NTA gathers this material by continually monitoring numerous newsletters, Web sites and research reports so you don’t have to spend time seeking out this information on your own. The information that matters to you most is saved and included in the each issue of The Trend.
The Trend is affordable, too. For only $10 a month ($120 for the year), you will have access to this type of information, which can help you grow your business, better understand your customer’s needs, target new customers and much more. Don’t worry that you’ve missed a few issues, because subscribers will receive a link each month to archives of The Trend so you can easily catch up.
To subscribe, e-mail NTA Vice President of Marketing Lisa Thompson.
There is only one week left until registration closes for the upcoming Tourism Cares for Gettysburg volunteer restoration event, to be held April 16-18, at the legendary Pennsylvania battlefield. Space and accommodations are still available, and you can sign up today to get your hands dirty and make a difference by helping restore George Spangler Farm in Gettysburg.
Complimentary battlefield tours also will be available for volunteers on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. and again on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. Space is very limited on these tours. if you are interested please e-mail Jessica Ahern.
Would you like to stand out to key buyers in the packaged travel industry? If so, you’ll want to be in Monterey, California, June 4-6, for the 2009 NTA Tour Operator Spring Meet. This is a tour-operator only event, but sponsoring tours suppliers and DMOs get a complimentary registration to attend, have access to all non-tour operator exclusive events, and receive sponsor promotions and access to an electronic list of attendees.
Sponsor a breakfast at Spring Meet and help delegates start their day off right by treating them to a delicious breakfast and reaching them first thing. By co-sponsoring a breakfast with another company, your sponsorship becomes even more affordable.
For more information, please contact NTA Vice President of Sales and Sponsorship, Karla DiNardo at 800.682.8886, ext. 4232 (U.S. and Canada) or +1.859.226.4232. Click here for sponsorship availabilities and benefits.