Tuesday Newsletter – May 12, 2009
May 12, 2009
Volume 29, Issue 19
Interested in advertising in Tuesday? E-mail Kelley Burchell at kelley.burchell@NTAstaff.com.
Convention Registration Opens May 28, Not May 19
Congressman Sam Farr to Address Spring Meet Delegates
Tarlow, Mexico Tourism Board Offer Suggestions on H1N1
Updates Coming to Criteria for NTA’s China Inbound Program
NTA Board Holds Second Meeting, Conducts Strategic Review
A Victory for Nevada Tourism
Greening Your Office Operations: Energy Efficiency
Spring Meet Early-bird Rate Still Available
Volunteer at Spring Meet
Reserve Space in the Only NTA-endorsed Publication for Group Leaders
Suppliers and DMOs: One Month Remains to Sponsor at Spring Meet
Mark your calendars for May 28, as registration for the 2009 NTA Convention in Reno, Nevada, will go live at noon (ET) that day. This is a change from the reported May 19 opening date, as NTA realized that many members would be traveling during that time for International Pow Wow and didn’t want to inconvenience those members. In addition to shifting the opening date to May 28, the early-bird registration deadline for suppliers and DMOs was changed to June 23.
Again this year, NTA will donate $1 to the Arbor Day Foundation’s National Forest Replanting project for each member that registers for Convention the day registration goes live. Each dollar will plant a tree in one of America’s national forests, and last year this project helped plant more than 600 trees.
And in addition to doing something good for the environment, you’ll also be registering to attend a streamlined and customized Convention that features a new format, designed for you, by you. See you in Reno from Nov. 14 to 18!
Representative Sam Farr, D-California, will be the keynote speaker at the Saturday breakfast during the NTA Spring Meet in Monterey, California, June 4-6. The California Congressman, who has served as co-chair of the Congressional Travel & Tourism Caucus since 1997, is a longtime friend of the industry and NTA.
"We are really honored to have Representative Farr address our members at the Tour Operator Spring Meet," said NTA Chairman and CEO Michele Michalewicz, CTP. "He is an influential leader in Congress on tourism policy, and his work has benefited travel and tourism for more than a decade."
During the breakfast, delegates will hear an update from Farr on tourism priorities, such as the Travel Promotion Act and the Travel to Cuba Act. Also, he will share his vision for promoting the travel industry on Capitol Hill and take questions from attendees. Additionally, Farr and Gordon Bell of Three Valley Gap Heritage Ghost Town and Chateau Three Valley Lake in Revelstoke, British Columbia, have been selected by the NTA Board to receive the 2009 Pioneer Award, which will be presented at the Spring Meet.
You can sponsor the Saturday breakfast and have the chance to introduce Farr and give a three- to five-minute presentation promoting your destination/product. Click here for more information about sponsorships at NTA’s signature event or contact NTA Vice President of Sales and Sponsorship Karla DiNardo.
Dr. Peter Tarlow, who will speak at the 2009 NTA Spring Meet, recently offered his thoughts on the H1N1 flu in a special edition of his "Tourism Tidbits" newsletter. The noted risk management specialist and economist talked about the major impact — both perceived and real — that H1N1 is having on the travel and tourism industry.
In his opening recap, Tarlow wrote, "Mixed messages have added to a sense of confusion and to the public’s lack of trust." The newsletter also includes his list of 10 things travel companies can learn from H1N1, such as "obtain and provide the most accurate information possible" and "be well aware that the media may use forms of hyperbole when reporting on illnesses." To see the full text of the newsletter, click here.
NTA also has been working closely with the Mexico Tourism Board to stay current on the N1H1 situation, especially as it pertains to travel. The MTB’s special Web page, http://www.mexico-update.com/index.jsp, includes regular updates from health officials, a consumer tips newsletter and briefings on what the Mexican government is doing.
Here are some additional resources to help you stay informed on the latest developments:
- UN World Health Organization
- UN World Tourism Organization
- UN World Tourism Organization’s Emergency Response Network
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security (e-mail email@example.com to receive a daily e-newsletter with detailed updates)
- U.S. State Department
From the China Inbound Task Force and other tour operators, NTA learned that certain practices, such as coerced shopping activities, were not promoting a welcoming visitor experience for Chinese travelers visiting the United States. NTA President Lisa Simon, CTP, and Senior Vice President Agnes Amos met with officials from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the China National Tourism Administration to assure them that NTA and the approved tour operators are concerned and prepared to do what they can to ensure the Chinese visitors receive a safe, secure and quality experience.
In response, NTA prepared a new set of criteria to address issues that have arisen in the China inbound market since the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding. Tour operators that are part of the NTA China Inbound Program will be asked to attest to these updated policies to affirm their standing on NTA’s Approved Tour Operator list. The new criteria will be presented at 2009 NTA Spring Meet and available on NTAonline.com. In addition, a Best Practices document for the China Inbound U.S. market will be provided to all NTA approved tour operators.
For more information on NTA’s China Inbound Program, contact NTA Director of Industry and Government Relations Matt Grayson.
The NTA Board of Directors recently held its strategic planning session and second meeting of the year in Tucson, Arizona. During the strategy review, the board assessed its path of growing from an association of North American buyers and sellers to a North American-based association with members in 40 countries doing business inbound, outbound and domestically.
"NTA has grown and evolved over the years to respond to member needs, and the board reviewed this evolution during our recent strategic planning session," said NTA Chairman and CEO Michele Michalewicz, CTP. She cited the example of NTA opening its doors to members outside North America in 2002 to respond to a growing need from tour operators to have member partners not only to serve North American product, but also to help with overseas business development.
"We determined that as we continue on our strategic path of serving the inbound, outbound and domestic business needs of our members, NTA must focus on bringing business to its current members — the suppliers, the DMOs and the operators — and do it in a fair way so all members are seeing value."
As such, NTA will continue with new member programming and services such as the updating its Convention format to allow members to customize their buying and selling experience, and continuing to develop partnerships with other organizations like the World Religious Travel Association, the Travel Professionals of Color and the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association that can bring new business to members and broaden the perspective of the diverse opportunities available in travel and tourism.
To read the overview of the board meeting, please click here.
NTA thanks the Metropolitan Tucson CVB, the Westward Look Resort and the Arizona Office of Tourism for hosting the board during its stay in Tucson. NTA also held a Road Show and thanks the Tucson Sheraton Hotel & Suites for hosting this event and reception.
In March, NTA sent a letter to the Nevada legislature in support of the Nevada Commission on Tourism. The letter was prominently featured on the "Save Nevada Tourism" Web site and placed in special packets prepared for every state legislator.
The letter addressed issues surrounding Gov. Jim Gibbons’ initiative to merge the Tourism and Economic Development Commissions, eliminate the state tourism director’s position and cut the state’s tourism budget by 50 percent.
The Nevada state legislature met on these issues last week and the outcome was very positive. The proposed merger of the two commissions was dropped, the state tourism director’s position was not eliminated and the proposed 50 percent budget cut was reduced to 33 percent.
NTA salutes the Nevada state legislature for preserving the Tourism Commission and for preserving most of the Commission’s funding in this time of economic distress.
(NOTE: This is part of a series of columns by Brian Mullis, president of Sustainable Travel International, which will appear in Tuesday. Last fall, NTA announced its strategic alliance with STI that allows members to get discounts on certain STI services, including the eco-certification program.)
One of the very practical ways you can help reduce your greenhouse gas emissions is by implementing energy efficiency measures around your office. You can start by adopting a few simple policies that are designed to change employee behavior. Start with aspects of your operations that require little to no investment, such as:
- Turn off any lights when not in use.
- Use task lighting rather than overhead systems when offices are over-lit.
- Adjust settings to low-power use on existing office equipment like your HVAC, refrigeration, etc.
- Put computers to sleep and turn off or unplug non-critical equipment when not in use.
- Adjust thermostats for moderate seasonal temperatures. Your office should be warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter.
Major energy savings can be achieved by investing in your facilities or working with property owners to implement improvements. Doing things such as replacing existing light bulbs with LED light bulbs, buying office equipment that is Energy Star-rated and installing occupancy sensors so that lights only come on when a room is in use are examples of low-hanging fruit opportunities.
If you decide to take advantage of these suggestions, be sure to measure your savings and compare energy consumption month-to-month and year-to-year, so you can report the results and fund other sustainability initiatives. If you have a question about sustainable practices, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NTA knows how important it is to grow your company’s bottom line and continue to thrive during these tough economic times. The Tour Operator Spring Meet offers so many ways for you to meet those goals.
To make sure that the Spring Meet is as affordable as possible, NTA will be offering the low, early-bird registration fee for everyone between now and the start of the event. This is another example of how your association is helping you get the business you need to keep growing your business.
Register today and join your tour operator colleagues for what is shaping up to be one fantastic event in Monterey, California.
NTA has a packed schedule of seminars ready and waiting for you in Monterey and we’re looking for volunteers to serve as seminar monitors. This role includes assisting NTA staff with speakers, distributing and collecting session evaluations and passing mics during Q&A sessions. If you’d like to volunteer as a seminar monitor, click here.
You’ll receive a confirmation of your volunteer duties prior to the event. If you have questions about any of the sessions or the volunteer schedule, contact Andrea Richardson at NTA Headquarters.
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 in the publication. In addition to display advertising, tour operator members can purchase a listing in the Tour Operator Directory portion of the Trip Planner, 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 31, 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.
The 2009 NTA Tour Operator Spring Meet is just one month away. With numerous opportunities for business, education and fun coming up June 4-6 in Monterey, California, this event is sure to be one you’ll both benefit from and remember. While Spring Meet is for operators only, there is one more group of people who are welcome to attend…sponsors!
If you sponsor at Spring Meet, you can gain access to some of the major buyers in the industry. There are a few sponsorships still remaining and NTA would love to help you find just the right one. Plus, through sponsoring, you’ll receive a great set of benefits including, but not limited to, access to the event, sponsor promotions and contact information on delegates.