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Washington State’s New Tourism Alliance Holds First Meeting | 12 Primo Prizes Up for Grabs!

April 5, 2011

Volume 31, Issue 14

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Washington State’s New Tourism Alliance Holds First Meeting
12 Primo Prizes Up for Grabs!
U.S. Leisure & Hospitality Employers Optimistic About Hiring
Travel Technology Becoming More Common, Creative
Wade Into Oyster Beds, Make Your Own Pizza, and More!
Leadership Look-back: John Stachnik
Tap into Free Podcasts for Small Business Advice, Info
Liven Up Your Listing (But Do It Fast-Only Two Weeks Remain!)
Surviving the Recession: ‘Hope is Not a Strategy.’
Tourism Cares Announces 2011-2012 Globus Special Grantees
Industry News and Updates

Washington State’s New Tourism Alliance Holds First Meeting  

Washington state’s tourism office will close at the end of June 2011, and a new organization, the Washington Tourism Alliance, will step in to continue the state’s tourism marketing efforts. At the new organization’s first meeting in Seattle last week, NTA members were part of the nearly 500 stakeholders from Washington’s tourism industry who turned out to voice opinion and support for the newly formed alliance. Greg Eckhart, DMO representative on the NTA Board of Directors, was there on behalf of the association. Other NTA members in attendance included representatives from Shilo Inn, Red Lion Hotels, Ride the Ducks of Seattle and Snohomish County Tourism.

Washington State image

Addressing the group were industry leaders Mike Gallagher of City Pass and Ron Peck from Alaska Travel Industry Association. Each offered suggestions and strong models for Washington as the alliance develops a plan to promote tourism in their state without the tax dollars that DMOs and CVBs typically rely on.

Once the state’s tourism office closes, the alliance hopes to take some of the assets created by the tourism office and use them for promotion and marketing, said Eckhart, tourism manager (USA and Canada) for Travel Portland.

"The meeting had an air of solidarity and a resolved, positive approach to the challenge," he said. "The group wants to use the existing Web site and other media to create a streamlined transition of the brand and message."

In January, The NTA Board of Directors approved a resolution discouraging states—including Washington—from reducing or eliminating funding for tourism offices, pointing to a potential loss of tourism’s economic benefits.

Tourism is a key component of Washington’s economy, generating the following:

  • 143,000 jobs
  • $15.2 billion in spending
  • $992 million in local and state tax revenue

Eckhart came away from the meeting gratified. "It was great to see a united industry that has formed an alliance governed by the tourism industry," he said. "There’s a process that includes membership dues on several approachable levels."

To learn about membership and the key industry stakeholders in this alliance, visit the Washington Tourism Alliance Web site.

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12 Primo Prizes Up for Grabs!  Maverick Helicopters

Convention registration opens April 19 at noon ET. (That’s only 14 days away!) You’ll want to register opening week, not only because you’ll save money as an early bird registrant, but because you could win one of these great prizes:

Prizes for Tour Operators (buyers)

  • A helicopter ride to the evening Icebreaker, provided by NTA member Maverick Helicopters
    (Make your entrance to Convention like a celebrity!)
  • Registration to Convention ’11
    (That’s right: We’ll give you your money back.)
  • Free NTA dues for 2012
    (You can save up to $475 for your company.)
  • Reserved VIP table at the luncheon Monday, Dec. 5
    (Invite business partners and friends to join you at your table.)
  • Registration for Montage 2012
    (Your chance to make connections with travel professionals from around the world.)
  • Registration for Contact 2012
    (We haven’t announced the 2012 North American location just yet, but this operator-exclusive event focuses on three tracks of education.)

Prizes for Tour Suppliers and DMOs (Sellers)

  • A helicopter ride to the evening Icebreaker provided by NTA member Maverick Helicopters.
    (What a way to make an entrance to Convention!)
  • Registration to Convention ’11
    (That’s right: We’ll give you your money back!)
  • Free NTA dues for 2012
    (You can save up to $1,725 for your property.)
  • Full-page ad in the 2011 Convention Catalog
    (An extra opportunity to promote your destination or property to operators at Convention—a US$4,850 value.)
  • Reserved VIP table at the luncheon Monday, Dec. 5
    (Make it another networking opportunity! Invite business partners and friends to join you at your table.)
  • A seminar sponsorship and attendance package to Contact 2012
    (Your destination or property gets all the seminar sponsor perks, including being able to attend this operator-exclusive event—a US$3,000 value.)

It's Vegas, Baby!Winners will be drawn from those who register April 19–22. Mark your calendar today, and look for an e-mail Tuesday, April 19, at noon with a link to registration.

It’s Vegas, Baby!
Convention ’11 is the place to meet more partners, find more product and get more business. Registration opens April 19 at

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U.S. Leisure & Hospitality Employers Optimistic About Hiring 

Hiring expectations in the leisure and hospitality sector are strong for the second quarter of 2011, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey. Of the U.S. employers surveyed, 27 percent anticipate an increase in their staff levels, while 6 percent expect a decrease. Sixty-five percent anticipate no change, and 2 percent don’t know. The net employment outlook of 21 compares to a score of 12 for last quarter.

Looking at all 13 industry sectors, where more than 18,000 employers were surveyed, the net employment outlook score is 10. This represents the sixth consecutive quarter of employment growth. Employers in the leisure and hospitality sector are the most optimistic (along with mining), and Midwest employers within the sector lead the way with a score of 26, followed by South (23), Northeast (21) and West (16).

To get more details of the U.S. survey, and to view results from 37 other countries, visit the Manpower survey Web site.

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Travel Technology Becoming More Common, Creative  

Using technology and social media in the travel industry is no longer a curiosity; it’s commonplace. Travel-related companies now use e-mail, Facebook, smart phones and Web sites to provide information formerly delivered by human beings. While some innovations might draw customer pushback, other changes seem destined to stay:

If you are harnessing technology in cool and creative ways, let us know via (what else?) Facebook.

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Wade Into Oyster Beds, Make Your Own Pizza, and More! 

Tour operators: Be ready to eat—a lot—on Rhode Island’s pre-Contact FAM tour! The FAM is a culinary tour that serves up a healthy portion of Rhode Island sights accompanied by incredible edibles all along the way. Here’s a sampling of just the food you’ll enjoy on the three-day tour:

Modern Diner, Pawtucket


Breakfast at the Modern Diner in Pawtucket, the first diner to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places

  • Rhode Island lobster dinner
  • A fisherman’s breakfast: eggs, baked beans and fish cakes
  • Jonnycake samples at Kenyon’s Grist Mill, one of the oldest businesses in Rhode Island
  • Lunch at the Matunuck Oyster Bar, where you’ll get to wade into the oyster beds and learn how they’re cultivated
  • A sustainable farm dinner
  • A traditional Rhode Island May Breakfast, a state tradition, usually held May 1 all over the state
  • A chocolate demonstration
  • A wine-and-food pairing dinner at a local winery

Are you hungry yet? Check out the Contact Web site to see the full pre-FAM schedule-it’s delicious! 

The Contact pre-FAM is just $50 per person and is limited to tour operators (two per company).  Register now for the tour and Contact, the next generation of the Tour Operator Spring Meet.

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Leadership Look-back: John Stachnik 

John StachnikThroughout 2011 (NTA’s 60th anniversary celebration year), Courier is running reminiscences from some of NTA’s past presidents. In the April issue, John Stachnik, president of NTA in 1992, shares a memory from 1980, when he served as Convention chairman in Orlando.

Stachnik recalls he had left the annual business meeting to check on the lunch set-up, but when lunch was ready, the members were not. When he returned to the business meeting, Stachnik found the members embroiled in a rancorous discussion. The board had earlier voted to give up the fight against the Interstate Commerce Commission’s decision to deregulate the industry.

"The membership was not happy with that decision, by either the ICC or our board," Stachnik said. The board eventually reversed its decision and continued to fight deregulation for another year, "knowing full well that it was a losing battle."

Stachnik believes the extra time was an upside for members. "It helped their businesses get ready for the new business environment, a most worthwhile accomplishment," he said.

To see the full story—and find out how our association’s name was changed as a result of the legislation—click here and turn to page 12 in the April Courier.

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Tap into Free Podcasts for Small Business Advice, Info 

The Small Business Administration offers a number of podcasts (recorded conversations) to assist small- and medium-sized companies. Topics include marketing and sales, human resources, and the technology you employ to keep your business functioning smoothly. Here’s a sampling of topics:

These podcasts are free, and the Web page for most topics also includes a transcript.

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Liven Up Your Listing (But Do It Fast—Only Two Weeks Remain!) 

There’s no doubt NTA’s Membership Directory has value: 81 percent of NTA tour operators tell us they use the directory daily. Your contact information is included as part of your membership, but have you ever considered enhancing your listing?

Is every listing valuable? Absolutely. Noticeable? Yes. But with the help of an ad or enhanced listing, you liven up your space and can better catch the eye of tour operators. With any ad purchase in the directory, you’ll receive premium placement within your state/province/country, close to your listing, making it easier for tour operators to find you.

 Membership Directory page shot2

The deadline to participate and be seen by NTA’s 1,500 tour operators is April 15. Contact us by phone (+ 1.859.219.3533) or e-mail today.

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Surviving the Recession: ‘Hope is Not a Strategy.’ 

Phil BrunoFor the last two years, Phil Bruno has been on a journey. After working in the tourism industry for decades, the national speaker found himself in front of audiences who were mired in a sluggish economy. After deciding that today’s travelers are more focused on value, Bruno began searching the country for destinations that use creative ways to survive and thrive. He’s found more than two dozen sites that aren’t just riding out the downturn.

"Hope is not a strategy," Bruno said. "A lot of people aren’t waiting until the recession is over. They’re finding success now."

Bruno will share many of these success stories at Convention ’11 in his seminar, "Surviving and Thriving: Top 25 Tourism Recession Success Cases."

A preview of the kind of stories he’ll be sharing at Convention is in Group Tour Magazine (page 96), where Bruno discusses these innovative tourism outlets:

  • Linden and Perry County, Tennessee, used federal stimulus funds to create more jobs, tax revenue and tourism.
  • At First Crush Winemaking in Paso Robles, California, visitors don’t just learn about winemaking, they get involved.
  • The Titanic Museum in Branson, Missouri, uses dogs to draw people. A pair of spaniels greets visitors, who learn that three of 10 dogs aboard the ship survived the 1912 tragedy.

Join us in Las Vegas this December for Bruno’s fascinating sessions and walk away with new ideas on:

  • Showing your teams that excellence is attainable.
  • Creativity and innovation that rules the day.
  • Understanding new definitions for "community."
  • How technology is delivering transparency to customers.

Convention ’11 registration opens April 19 at

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Tourism Cares Announces 2011–2012 Globus Special Grantees  

Four exceptional sites have been selected as 2011–2012 Tourism Cares Globus Special Grantees. Beginning in 2004, Globus, a worldwide leader in escorted travel, in partnership with Tourism Cares, has supported grants for the preservation and restoration of exceptional North and South American sites. The selected sites are highlights of popular Globus North American vacations, and, for the first time, a site in South America has been selected: Galápagos, Ecuador. The growing collection of sites represents the diverse geography and beauty of the world.

The 2011–2012 Globus grantees are:

  • Fundación Galápagos Ecuador, Ecuador
  • Friends of World War II Memorial, Washington, D.C.
  • Parkway Partners Programs for Louis Armstrong Memorial Park, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Yellowstone Association for Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming


For more information, visit the Tourism Cares grant program Web site.

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