Create or retrieve your password by clicking here

Who Wants a Prize? | Road Show Brings Members Together

March 27, 2012

Volume 32, Issue 13

TravEx13 Reg Opens Ad
Interested in advertising in Tuesday? E-mail Karla DiNardo.

Who Wants a Prize?
Road Show Brings Members Together
NTA-ASTA Hispanic Task Force Taking a ‘Mi Casa Es Su Casa Approach’
Parra Testifies to Congress on Behalf of UMA and NTA
Take a Stroll through the April Courier (and Take a Gander at June)
New Phone App Provides Motorcoach Safety Records
About that Survey …
Students to Learn, Participate at Tourism Cares for Pensacola
Quality of Life Conference Focuses on Tourism Industry
Industry News and Updates

Who Wants a Prize?  

You know registration for Travel Exchange opens April 10, right? If you need a little extra motivation to mark the date on your calendar (and register as soon as you can!), remember: You’ll be saving up to US$200 when you register during the Early Bird. And if you register by Friday, April 13, you’ll also earn the chance to win one of these prizes!

Prizes for Tour Operators (buyers)

  • Registration to Travel Exchange (That’s right … you’ll get your money back!)
  • Free NTA dues for 2013 (You can save up to $485 for your company.)
  • Registration for Contact 2013
  • A pair of tickets to see Blue Man Group while you’re in Orlando
  • Dinner for two at NASCAR Sports Grille at Universal City Walk while you’re in Orlando
  • An Apple iPad (the new one!)

Prizes for Tour Suppliers and DMOs (sellers)

  • Registration to Travel Exchange (That’s right … you’ll get your money back!)
  • Free NTA dues for 2013 (You can save up to $1,735 for your property.)
  • Full-page ad in the on-site Travel Exchange program
  • A seminar sponsorship and attendance package to Contact 2013 (Your destination or property gets all the seminar sponsor perks, including being able to attend this operator-exclusive event—a $3,000 value.)
  • An Apple iPad (the new one!)

Is your calendar marked now? We can’t wait to see you at Travel Exchange in Orlando! 

top of page

Road Show Brings Members Together 

NTA members in the Orlando, Florida, area gathered for breakfast last week at the first of a series of Travel Exchange Road Shows. For the Orlando gathering, local tour operators, DMOs and tour suppliers were invited to join members of the NTA-Travel Exchange horizontal smallUMA Task Force, who were meeting at the Rosen Centre Hotel, to spend some quality member-time together and ask any questions they had about Travel Exchange. Task force members Cathy Greteman of Star Destinations (member of both NTA and UMA), Paul Nakamoto of Roaring Camp Railroads (NTA member), Audrey Bialas of Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau (member of both NTA and UMA), and Larry Hundt of Great Canadian Holidays/Great Canadian Coaches (UMA member) offered their insight to audience questions such as:

How will the partnership with UMA change the NTA show?

Paul Nakamoto: For the NTA member side, as a tour supplier, it’s not going to change at all what you’ve done in the past with NTA. You’re still going to have your prescheduled appointments, and you’ll still be able to make additional appointments on site. The difference is now with the UMA side, you’ve got all the motorcoach operators. At the UMA Expo this year, I actually made contact with two motorcoach operators, and I picked up a new series tour for next year just because of that relationship. So working with the UMA motorcoach operators is a tremendous thing. 

Audrey Bialis: UMA motorcoach operators that do operate tours have the option to take appointments. So not only are you going to be able to schedule appointments with NTA operators, but when the appointment scheduling opens, throughout the whole time that it is open, keep checking back because as they register and choose that ability to take appointments, you’ll be able to reach a whole new audience that you might not have been able to reach before.

Hundt: In our case, this will be the first time in many years that our tour-planning staff is going to come with our coach operators staff to the same conference. We’re going to attract quite a few new tour operators who are going to come to the show because there’s so much more at this show now. The UMA operators number about 900 in our total membership, and we will have a lot of our major companies here who have a tour department, and you’ll have access to talk to them. They’ll be bringing their tour-planning staff because it will be a one-stop shop for them. You’ll have access to a lot of new companies and new faces that have the potential of bringing business to you.

So thankful and appreciative I am of your industry.’

The group was also treated to the inspirational story of Harris Rosen, president and COO of Rosen Hotels & Resorts. Mr. Rosen, a long-time member of NTA and now owner of six hotels and several convention facilities, credited his career success to the group industry. "Today Rosen Hotels has about 6,500 rooms, and we have three convention properties. None of what I have today would have been possible without your industry. If it weren’t for the motorcoach industry, Rosen Hotels would not exist today. So thankful and appreciative I am of your industry."

To watch the video of Mr. Rosen’s presentation (it’s a good one!), go to the Do Big Things blog. If you have any questions about Travel Exchange yourself, please share them with us via e-mail at And be sure to mark April 10 on your calendar as the first day to register for Travel Exchange, Jan. 20–24, in Orlando, Florida.

top of page

NTA-ASTA Hispanic Task Force Taking a ‘Mi Casa Es Su Casa Approach’ 

The NTA-ASTA Hispanic Business Development Task Force met for the first time in conjunction with Tianguis Turistico Mexico and developed a strategic plan to capture the undertapped U.S. Hispanic travel market.

"Because tourism creates jobs and the Hispanic market represents 16 percent of the U.S. population, there is an unprecedented opportunity for growth," said task force chairman Olga Ramudo, a member of both NTA and ASTA. "We want to ensure this market is serviced, captured and has a voice in our industry.

"NTA and ASTA are creating a home for travel professionals specializing in Hispanic travel with a ‘Mi casa es su casa’ approach," Ramudo added.

"We are honored and excited to have hosted the first meeting of this task force in Puerto Vallarta-Riviera Nayarit, Mexico," said Jose Barquin, director, Mexico Tourism Board, Miami office, and a member of the task force. "We are convinced this market can create new opportunities to bring more visitors to Mexico."

The Mexico Tourism Board and Aeromexico collaborated to bring the task force meeting to Tianguis. The task force comprises a diversity of travel professionals including NTA members Ramudo, president and CEO of Express Travel; Barquin; Angel Alvarez, Rail Europe; Maria Gross, MarkeTravel International; Kirk Whisler, Latino Print Network; and board liaison Jorge Cazenave, Cazenave Argentina. ASTA members are Nina Meyer, ASTA president; Guisselle Nunez, Mundi Travel/American Express; Gloria Stock Mickelson, Travel Leaders Franchise Group; Jorge Sanchez, Mena Tours and Travel; and Laura C. Rodriguez, Marina Tours and Travel.

top of page

Parra Testifies to Congress on Behalf of UMA and NTA  

Victor Parra, president and CEO of the United Motorcoach Association, testified this morning on behalf of UMA and NTA before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources. The full committee held an oversight hearing on "Harnessing American Resources to Create Jobs and Address Rising Gasoline Prices: Family Vacations and U.S. Tourism Industry.

Parra’s testimony focused on bus and motorcoach tourism from the perspectives of UMA and NTA, and how the current state of fuel costs is impacting group travel.

"In April 2002 the average national price of diesel fuel was $1.32 per gallon. In 2002 the cost of fuel represented approximately 10 percent of an operator’s cost," Parra said. "With the cost of fuel tripling in just 10 years, motorcoach travel and tour professionals are challenged to offer affordable domestic travel. Most recently, UMA and NTA joined a coalition of tourism industry professionals that encourage development of national tourism strategy. As today’s hearing highlights, energy needs to be part of that strategy."

Parra asked the House Natural Resources Committee to consider policies that: 

  1. Alleviate energy shortages that force increases in fuel prices.
  2. Encourage consumers to utilize motorcoach transportation when appropriate and feasible.
  3. Create policies that support motorcoach travel including removing restrictions and facilitating motorcoach travel on our nation’s highways.

Also scheduled to testify were Sam Gilliland, chairman and CEO, Sabre Holdings; Mark H. Brown, executive vice president, AAA; and Daniel J. Weiss, director of climate strategy, Center for American Progress. See all the witnesses’ statements here.

And to learn how you can advocate for key travel and tourism issues, you can attend the Grassroots Congressional Travel Summit, hosted by NTA, the Southeast Tourism Society and Destination Marketing Association International in Washington, D.C.,  May 8 to 10.

top of page

Take a Stroll through the April Courier (and Take a Gander at June) 

3.27.12CourierAs much of the northern hemisphere bursts into flower, the April issue of Courier offers an opportunity for you to wander around the grass and garden, looking for treasures. Here are some of the things you’ll pick up along the way:

  1. What is BYOD and how might it affect your company?
  2. What is the No. 1 activity for Germans traveling to the United States?
  3. Who are "pinners" and how can you reach them to market your business or destination?
  4. How do you make your sustainability efforts matter to your customers?
  5. Which non-profit organization has made a $4 million difference to our industry?
  6. Which NTA member will host colleagues at a special evening of entertainment, animal interactions and delicious food in August?
  7. Where in the American South can travelers learn the traditions of Swiss winemaking?
  8. Which new museum is about to open in Frisco, Texas?
  9. What is Birmingham63?
  10. Which small seaside town did Charles Dickens frequent, referring to it as "our English watering place?"

Repeat advertisers in this issue are Aon Affinity Berkely Travel, Celebration River Cruises, Cherokee Heritage Center, Claremore Convention & Visitors Bureau, Empire State Building, Mt. Washington Railway Company, Norwegian Cruise Line, Premium Outlets® | SIMON®, and Royal Gorge Route Railroad. We’re grateful to our repeat advertisers (those who book in three or more issues of Courier per year). Click here for more information.

Upcoming content and deadlines: 

July Issue: Austria, Germany & Switzerland, Southern California, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan.
Ad Space: May 2
Editorial: April 2

August Issue: Greece & Turkey, Pacific Northwest (British Columbia, Oregon, Washington), Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, Special Section: Theaters & Broadway Shows.
Ad Space: June 6
Editorial: April 30

September Issue: Eastern Europe (Czech Republic, Poland & Slovakia), Southwest (Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas), Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ontario; Special Section: Sightseeing Rail; Guide: Museums.
Ad Space: July 3
Editorial: June 4

Click here to view the entire 2012 editorial calendar.

Native American and First Nations Featured in June Courier
Native American and First Nations will be featured as the Special Section of the June issue of Courier magazine. Courier enjoys an average pass-along rate of 3.3, making NTA tour operator readership nearly 5,000. To advertise in this issue, e-mail NTA Services Inc. or call 859.264.6559 today to reserve your space.

Other features of interest in the June issue are Receptives/Sightseeing and travel guides on the Gulf Coast (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas); Latin America; Delaware; Maryland; Pennsylvania; Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Interested in learning more about all of NTA Services’ publications? Click here or check out the 2012 Media Kit to learn more.

top of page

New Phone App Provides Motorcoach Safety Records 

The U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has launched SaferBus, a mobile application that provides safety information about the nearly 6,000 interstate commercial passenger carriers registered with the U.S. Department of3.27.12SaferBus Transportation. Designed for the Apple iPhone and iPad, the app can be downloaded for free by visiting the Apple iTunes App Store or by going to FMCSA’s "Look Before You Book" Web page.

The free app allows tour operators to easily access a bus company’s safety performance record. And while the app is available to the public, the information is more valuable in the hands of a travel professional who can more readily interpret it and assess options. Here’s what you’ll find on the app:

  • Operating authority and insurance status: Determine if a bus company has a valid U.S. DOT operating authority and complies with federal insurance requirements.
  • Safety performance records: Check the record of a carrier’s performance in a number of safety categories: unsafe driving, fatigued driving, driver fitness, controlled substances/alcohol, and vehicle maintenance. The app gives a snapshot of the data that FMCSA also makes publicly available online at its Compliance, Safety and Accountability Web site.
  • Safety ratings: FMCSA issues three types of safety ratings. The top rating is Satisfactory, followed by Conditional (may pose a higher safety risk) and Unsatisfactory (should not be operating).

The SaferBus app also allows users to report a complaint to the FMCSA National Consumer Complaint Database. To get the company’s U.S. DOT number or Motor Carrier (MC) number, go to the FMCSA Web site and enter the company name and headquarters.

Safety information in the app is based on 24 months of roadside inspections and violations of a company’s drivers and vehicles, along the results of any DOT/FMCSA investigations of the company’s safety practices. If you’re unable to use the app, you can visit the DOT Web site that contains the same information.

top of page

About that Survey … 

In case you’re wondering about a survey you were e-mailed earlier today, it’s legit!

NTA is partnering with George Washington University to gauge industry awareness and interest in Native American tourism activities. Earlier today, a sampling of NTA tour operators received an e-mail with a link to a survey created by graduate students at GWU.  Your input in this study will be very helpful, even if you have no current interest in packaging Native American tourism components. As a thanks for participating, everyone who submits a survey will be entered into a drawing for a $50 REI gift card! 

If you have any questions about this project, please contact Jason Terwilliger at NTA.

top of page

Students to Learn, Participate at Tourism Cares for Pensacola 

Tourism Cares is launching a new student-engagement program at its annual volunteer project, Tourism Cares for Pensacola, March 29 and 30.

10.11.11Pensecola TC logoWith support from a grant from the Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Foundation, Tourism Cares has engaged students from the University of South Alabama at Mobile, the University of West Florida and Pensacola State College to participate in this initiative. These undergraduate travel, tourism, and hospitality students will attend seminars focusing on the value of conservation, preservation, and sustainable tourism. Seminar speakers will share insights on industry trends and the economic outlook for upcoming graduates.

Students will then work side by side with industry professionals at two Pensacola sites for this year’s give back projects: the Pensacola Lighthouse and  the shoreline of Bayou Texar.

In addition to this student-engagement initiative, Tourism Cares offers other student programs. Scholarships to travel, tourism, and hospitality undergraduates and graduates help support the development of the future industry workforce. In conjunction with each scholarship award, students are also offered mentoring opportunities. InternInTourism is a Web site, sponsored by NTA, that matches students with an industry internship opportunity. 

To learn more about Tourism Cares student programs, click here.

top of page

Quality of Life Conference Focuses on Tourism Industry  

NTA is partnering with GRL Development for a tourism and hospitality conference on Quality of Life and Regional Development, to be held in Annapolis, Maryland, on April 19.

The conference will explore issues concerned with quality of life and work and impact of these issues on regional growth through the development of travel and tourism industries. The main focus will be on the following:

  • Quality of life of tourist-host communities
  • The effect of well-being on the tourism industry
  • Quality of service and work conditions in tourism businesses

A separate session will be devoted to new touristic services and new trends in tourism, travel and hospitality industries.

The conference targets business people and service providers in the tourism and hospitality sector and professionals working in fields concerned with quality of life and socio-economic development. There is a nominal registration fee for the not-for-profit educational conference.

NTA and the organizers invite NTA members and affiliates to attend this interesting conference. For more information, visit the conference Web site.

Industry News and Updates

  • A study by shows a significant shift in destination preference among travelers flying out of New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles and Houston.
  • Generating leads is the biggest online challenge for B2B marketing professionals. A survey by eMarketer shows that e-mail and social media channels-especially LinkedIn and blogging-work best.
  • As U.S. gas prices hit $4 a gallon, more hotels and destinations are using gas cards to attract visitors.
  • The U.S. Department of Commerce will present a Webinar about Japan, the United States’ largest overseas tourism market in terms of spending, on Tuesday, April 3, at 6:30 p.m. ET. Cost is $50. Click here for more information.

top of page

Share on Facebook

Click here for the Tuesday archive.


« »