Tuesday Newsletter – June 9, 2009
June 9, 2009
Volume 29, Issue 23
Interested in advertising in Tuesday? E-mail Kelley Burchell at kelley.burchell@NTAstaff.com.
Positive Buzz Surrounds Conclusion of NTA’s Spring Meet
What’s New for Convention ’09
Government Relations Success through Media Coverage in D.C.
Travelocity Survey Says Intent to Travel is High
U.S. National Park Service Offering Three Fee-free Summer Weekends
Become an NTA Volunteer Leader
Upcoming Germany Product Development Trip to Include ATS Conference
Tour Operators: Don’t Forget to Vote
Looking to Get Some Free Publicity in Courier Magazine?
NTAonline.com Calendar Keeps You Updated
Thank You Spring Meet Sponsors
The networking, camaraderie and peer-to-peer learning were in high gear at the NTA Tour Operator Spring Meet, which concluded over the weekend. More than 220 members from 12 countries came together in beautiful Monterey, California, and the post-event positive buzz has covered everything from the local tour experiences to the opportunities for education and having travel agents from NACTA join the Spring Meet.
The National Association of Career Travel Agents held its Western Regional meeting in conjunction with the NTA event, and members from both organizations gave good feedback on the opportunities to work together.
During Spring Meet, NTA also bestowed its Pioneer Award on two very deserving gentlemen. Gordon Bell, who was the owner of Three Valley Gap Heritage Ghost Town and Chateau Three Valley Lake in Revelstoke, British Columbia, was honored posthumously and his family accepted the award. NTA also honored Congressman Sam Farr who’s been an important friend to NTA and travel and tourism overall.
In the coming weeks, NTA will post photos from the event, as well as the audio from all seminars, which you will be able to download in mp3 format. Also, please see future issues of Tuesday and the August issue of Courier for an overview of Spring Meet.
The local Monterey community provided top-quality hospitality to the delegates, and NTA thanks all of its Spring Meet sponsors who helped make the event fun, affordable and possible.
Have you registered yet for Convention ’09? You won’t want to miss all of the exciting enhancements planned for Reno, Nevada. Here is a quick look at what you can expect this November.
- The schedule has been changed. Sightseeing tours will be held Saturday to allow for uninterrupted business sessions, DMO prescheduled appointments move to Sunday and consecutive Tour & Travel Exchange appointment sessions between suppliers and operators will take place Tuesday and Wednesday.
- The co-location of the World Religious Travel Association’s Expo gives operators access to the WRTA Expo floor and WRTA buyers during the Buyer-to-Buyer Exchange. Suppliers and DMOs can receive discounted registration fees for the Expo and NTA and WRTA will be holding several joint sessions where all attendees can network.
- NTA’s new Fast Pitch session gives tour suppliers the opportunity to add to prescheduled appointments.
- The Destination Pavilion has been revamped to give operators the opportunity to meet with and shop for new product ideas in a regional format where the DMOs are seated and the operators are walking.
- DMO and supplier prescheduled appointments in the Destination Pavilion and the Tour & Travel Exchange have been increased to 10 minutes.
- And, the Buyer-to-Buyer Exchange prescheduled appointments will also be 10 minutes in length.
For more information on these new enhancements, which were based on member input, visit the Convention Web site. Also, you can stay current about all the latest developments by following the Convention Chair’s blog.
NTA was recently contacted by The Hill, a newspaper which covers political and governmental news in Washington, D.C., regarding a story on access to the new Capitol Visitors Center. The reporter was following up on the issue, since motorcoach access to the main CVC drop off point is limited for tours even though there is a regular city bus stop there.
NTA put the reporter in touch with association member Neil Amrine, who operates Guide Service of Washington and is the chair of NTA’s Public Affairs Committee. Amrine and one of his tour guides spoke to The Hill about the struggle of senior citizens who had to walk uphill from the designated drop off point to enter the Capitol Visitors Center. Some tours even included World War II veterans who came to Washington to see the World War II Memorial, in addition to the CVC. The resulting article had a tremendous impact and landed on page one of the newspaper. Local NBC television affiliate, WTOP, also did a story featuring an interview with Amrine.
As a result of the coverage, Capitol police and members of Congress — including NTA Pioneer Award winner Representative Sam Farr, D-California, and Legislative Branch Subcommittee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Florida — have now stepped in to help address this very important issue impacting many travelers hoping to go to the Capitol Visitors Center.
A recent poll conducted by Travelocity indicates that consumer intent to travel this summer is rising, due in part to decreasing hotel prices and lower rates on airfare. The Traveler Confidence Report, released last Tuesday, compared plans and attitudes of travelers in April 2009 with responses given in November 2008.
Of those polled, 96 percent indicated that discounted rates have positively influenced their desire to travel this summer and 21 percent are planning to increase travel, as compared to only 10 percent from last November who were planning to travel more. Two-thirds of respondents report their summer travel budgets will remain the same or increase over last summer, and even though some said they are decreasing their budgets for travel, they aren’t canceling vacations.
Those findings tie in well with NTA’s recently launched Live Life . . . Travel! campaign, which focuses on how travel enhances life. NTA created several tools to help you bring this important message to consumers, and the special Live Life . . . Travel! Web site offers resources, tips and information aimed at helping travelers book vacations with association members.
The U.S. National Park Service announced last week that it will offer three fee-free weekends this summer to encourage travelers seeking affordable vacations to the parks. Entrance fees will be waived the weekends of June 20-21, July 18-19, and August 15-16, at the 147 NPS sites across the country that charge admission fees.
In the press conference announcing the move, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said, "During these tough economic times, our national parks provide opportunities for affordable vacations for families. National Parks also serve as powerful economic engines for local communities and we hope that promoting visitation will give a small shot in the arm to businesses in the area."
Other park partners such as concessionaires, hotels, restaurants, gift shops and other vendors are planning promotions and additional discounts on those dates. More information on some of those special offers is available if you click here.
NTA has a longstanding relationship with both the U.S. National Park Service, which maintains 391 national sites, and Parks Canada, which recently announced that it is freezing entrance fee rates for groups through early 2012.
Would you like to help make a difference in your association? Do you like developing new programs, brainstorming ideas or planning strategically for the future? If so, NTA has a number of volunteer opportunities to put your strengths to work.
NTA will begin planning for the 2010 Leadership Team this summer, and your first step toward becoming a volunteer leader is filling out the Volunteer Interest Form. This form simply lets NTA know the areas in which you are most interested, the capacities in which you’d like to serve the association, and whether you prefer to be part of in-person Leadership Team meetings or conference call committees.
If you have questions about volunteering for NTA, contact NTA Senior Vice President Agnes Amos. Completed forms should be faxed to Amos at +1.859.226.4404 by Friday, July 10.
For the second straight year, NTA will conduct a fall Product Development Trip in conjunction with the annual American Tourism Society Conference. This year’s ATS event will be held in the beautiful northeastern German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern from Oct. 26-28, followed by the NTA trip Oct. 29-Nov. 1.
The ATS Conference marks two milestones — the 20th anniversary of the American Tourism Society and the 20th anniversary of the reunification of Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall. NTA tour operator members have the unique opportunity to join in these celebrations and take part in education, networking and product development alongside ATS members.
Another incredible opportunity is the chance to participate in the first international Tourism Cares event. This exciting initiative will include tree planting in National Park Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaf’s Climate Forest, which is an area of the park specifically designated for the Tourism Cares and the American Tourism Society project.
Pricing and registration will be finalized in mid-June, but preliminary conference and Product Development Trip information is available if you click here. Visit the American Tourism Society Web site to learn more about the organization and its mission of bringing the world together through travel and tourism.
Two bylaw questions are currently out for tour operator vote, which will conclude later this month. Information on the following two issues is available at NTAonline.com:
- Creation of a shared supplier membership opportunity for arts and cultural organizations with nonprofit status.
- Elimination of the Board approval ballot for tour operators to create a standardized NTA membership process.
Each month, NTA's Courier magazine includes profiles on the association's members in the Meet the Members section. Your company or organization could be featured in an upcoming issue in one of these stories, which is about 250 words in length and includes a photo of the NTA membership contact.
To submit your company/organization's name for possible inclusion in upcoming Meet the Members profiles, e-mail Courier Managing Editor Doug Rentz. After you reply, you'll be contacted by a Courier staff member and asked to answer a few questions to help them write the article. In selecting members to feature, writers aim to balance geographical representation and membership categories.
To see this month's Courier Meet the Member profiles, click here and turn to page 78.
Need a quick reference to see what events are coming up in the travel industry? If so, check out the NTA Calendar of Events, which includes all NTA events for 2009 as well as many meetings and events taking place in the industry and those of NTA's strategic partners.
You can quickly access the calendar from the NTAonline.com homepage under the Meetings and Events section by selecting the Calendar tab.
NTA would like to thank all of its 2009 Tour Operator Spring Meet sponsors who made the event such a success. Their generous contributions helped make three days in Monterey, California, more enjoyable and the association appreciates its valued partners. Click here to see the list of the sponsoring organizations and companies.
If you'd like to learn more about sponsoring at either next year's Spring Meet or NTA's Convention '09, 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.