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Tuesday Newsletter - Oct. 21, 2008

10/21/2008

Tuesday's title sponsor is Theatre Direct Inc.
 
Interested in advertising in Tuesday? E-mail Kelley Burchell at kelley.burchell@NTAstaff.com.

Volume 28, Issue 42
Tuesday Archives

TODAY'S ARTICLES
Next Steps after Appointment Schedules Are Posted
Enhancements to NTA's Tracking/ROI E-mail System
Tips on Recession-Proofing Your Company
And Speaking of the Economy...
158 Tour Operators Approved through China Inbound Program
Seven Countries to Join U.S. Visa Waiver Program Next Month
Got a Question for Jeff Corwin?
Get Your Tickets for the Issues Luncheon
Reno Road Show Set for Dec. 2
Get Noticed at Convention through Sponsorship
Remembering Gilbert C. Elmore
Casinos/Gaming and the Atlantic Coast Part of February Courier



Next Steps after Appointment Schedules Are Posted

Appointment requests for the 2008 NTA Annual Convention have been entered and schedules are being run. But, after you receive your schedule Oct. 27, what should you do next?

First, you can add to your list of prescheduled appointments before Convention starts Nov. 15. While the open Exchange floor and the Appointment Scheduling/Profile Exchange sessions at Convention give you plenty of chances to add more appointments onsite, you also have NTA's Direct Request scheduling option that you can start using even before you leave for Pittsburgh. Through the system, you can search for companies you want to meet with that aren't on your list, find a neutral time slot and request an appointment. If it is accepted, it will be automatically scheduled for you.

Direct Request provides a great way to add to your business meetings prior to Convention. Make sure to regularly check for messages from companies who are looking to schedule an appointment, so you can respond in a timely fashion.

After your schedule is posted, another thing to do is sign up to be a Convention volunteer. Options range from working at registration to being a seminar monitor, an Exchange Concierge or a Convention 101 presenter. By volunteering, you can help create that great Convention experience everyone has come to expect from NTA and meet some new friends and business partners at the same time.

top of pageEnhancements to NTA's Tracking/ROI E-mail System

NTA has already enhanced its new Tracking/ROI E-mail system based on member feedback. After hearing from tour operators and DMOs alike that it is of value for operators to copy state/provincial/country DMOs on all e-mails they send, NTA has added this new feature.

The tracking/ROI system has been updated so that when you send your tracking information, it will automatically be carbon copied to the state/provincial/country DMO. This saves operators time and provides these umbrella organizations with cumulative information for their areas. However, if an operator chooses not to have the message copied to the state/provincial/country DMO, they can delete the e-mail address when setting up their message.

Another tweak to the system is that the names of the state/provincial/country DMO are highlighted in green. This makes it easier for the tour operators to quickly find these partners from the alphabetical list, which is sorted by city.

Also, operators who use NTA's Tracking/ROI E-mail System to send information to a member DMO between now and Oct. 31 will be entered in a drawing to win a front row seat for the Theater Direct/I Love NY luncheon on Monday, Nov. 17, at the NTA Convention.

top of pageTips on Recession-Proofing Your Company

NTA's "No Holds Barred" Think Tank met last week to discuss the current economic situation. As a result of its meeting, the Think Tank will soon be releasing a white paper, "Recession-Proofing Your Company: Financial Best Practices," which will provide advice and a list of best practices that companies can use in core areas to ensure success in the face of economic downturns.

That paper will be followed by another white paper, scheduled for release in November, on the future of tourism. The Think Tank believes that while all members need to be aware of the current economic climate and prepare for short-term success, they also need to be looking to the future of our industry and what can be done now to ensure continued success.

Look for both of these white papers in the coming weeks. If you have questions about these or other NTA research tools, contact NTA Vice President of Marketing Lisa Thompson.

top of pageAnd Speaking of the Economy...

The October NTA Question of the Month — What suggestions do you have to share with your colleagues to help them get through these tough economic times? — allows you to pass along your knowledge, expertise and past experiences to help other NTA members during the current economic situation.

"We've had some challenging times this year, especially with the economy and high fuel prices," said NTA Chairman and CEO Bob Hoelscher, CTP. "In many cases, NTA tour operators have been supported by our supplier colleagues who recognized the importance of not placing an undue burden on us by passing along fuel increases in their pricing. I hope we remember this and continue to support these partners in the future."

Hoelscher encourages members to log on to the member forums to post their thoughts on how the U.S. financial situation and other economic factors are impacting their businesses. To access the password-protected forums, you will need your member ID and password, which were included at the top of the e-mail you received showing the headlines for this week's Tuesday articles.

The NTA Question of the Month was developed based on feedback received from delegates who attended the general crackerbarrel at the 2008 NTA Tour Operator Spring Meet.

top of page158 Tour Operators Approved through China Inbound Program

In the past couple of months, the first groups of Chinese leisure travelers visited the United States under the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two countries. Many more are expected to follow, and your association continues to play a key role in this process.

Through the NTA China Inbound Program, tour operators can get on the list to work with Chinese travel agents who are allowed to bring groups of Chinese leisure travelers to the United States. NTA's role is to review applications from companies wishing to partner with the agents, then to submit the names of tour operators to the China National Tourism Administration, a body that must approve any company before it is added to the list.

Currently, 158 NTA tour operator members are on the approved list. It is anticipated that NTA will submit another group of names to CNTA officials in early 2009.

For more information on the program, please contact NTA Director of Industry and Government Relations Matt Grayson.

top of pageSeven Countries to Join U.S. Visa Waiver Program Next Month

Last Friday, U.S. President George W. Bush outlined the upcoming expansion of the Visa Waiver Program. By mid-November, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and South Korea will be added to the program, which allows citizens from approved countries to travel to the United States for stays up to 90 days without first obtaining a visa.

As part of the program, participating countries agree to share information on their citizens visiting the United States, and everyone must register online through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization initiative and be approved before traveling. The addition of the seven countries will bring the total of Visa Waiver Program nations to 34, and further expansion may be on the horizon, as President Bush expressed support for the eventual inclusion of Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Poland and Romania.

"NTA welcomes the expansion of the Visa Waiver Program and the benefits that increased international visitation bring to the United States," said Bob Hoelscher, CTP, NTA Chairman and CEO. "More international visitors mean more jobs in the travel and tourism economy as well as a better image of the U.S. abroad. NTA will do all it can to assist its members to take advantage of these new markets."

The expansion of the program, which was part of a larger effort to implement recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission, should bring thousands of more visitors to the United States annually and further add to the positive impact tourism has on the U.S. economy and job market.

top of pageGot a Question for Jeff Corwin?

At the upcoming Annual Convention, NTA is pleased to present Jeff Corwin, the Emmy Award-winning creator, producer and host of Animal Planet's The Jeff Corwin Experience and Corwin's Quest. During his presentation, Corwin will educate members on conservation of endangered species and ecosystems. He will focus on modern-day extinction and habitat exploitation occurring throughout the planet and inspire NTA members to become more aware of the threats to wildlife and to the environment.

Corwin not only plans to share his passion for environmental conservation, but also he invites questions in advance from NTA members that he can answer during his presentation at the Sunday Business Meeting luncheon, which is sponsored by Travel Oregon and Travel Portland. If you have questions for Corwin, please send them to NTA Vice President of Communications Catherine Prather by Friday, Nov. 7.

Corwin's talk is a perfect fit for NTA's first green Convention, since he will highlight conservation success stories that demonstrate how, through sustainable practices, we are able to ensure that future generations can enjoy Earth's natural splendor.

top of pageGet Your Tickets for the Issues Luncheon

Even though the U.S. election will be over by the time The Capitol Steps appear at the NTA Convention, there will be plenty of leftover political banter during the Issues Luncheon. The Steps, a group including former and current Congressional staff members, will bring their bipartisan musings to the stage Tuesday, Nov. 18, as part of the luncheon.

In addition to seeing The Capitol Steps, you will get an update on the progress made by NTA's government and industry relations efforts, including reaching out to the U.S. presidential candidates and the organization of an expanded Grassroots Action Network.

Tickets are $50 in advance and $60 at Convention and can be purchased now if you contact NTA Government Relations Manager Christy Cleveland. Funds raised at the luncheon, which is sponsored by the State of Arkansas/Little Rock CVB, go to support NTA's Government Issues Fund and TourPAC.

top of pageReno Road Show Set for Dec. 2

NTA will be making a stop at John Ascuaga's Nugget in Reno, Nevada, to close out its Road Show schedule for 2008. This event, scheduled for Dec. 2, will start at 11 a.m. with an informal presentation about NTA and the exciting 2009 NTA Annual Convention in Reno. There will be plenty of time for open discussion, then attendees will be treated to lunch.

The casual format of the Road Shows allows members and prospective members a chance to mingle, as well as to hear from NTA leaders on the association's many initiatives and strategic plan. Members are encouraged to invite an industry friend to come along to learn more about NTA.

If you want to attend, please RSVP to NTA Director of Membership Development Christina Horsley by Nov. 24.

top of pageGet Noticed at Convention through Sponsorship

Two sponsorship options give you a chance to reach out to your fellow delegates at the NTA Convention and promote your organization at the same time.

You can sponsor the Fresh Fruit Booth, which will provide attendees a healthy snack, or the Massage Booth, where delegates can take a couple of minutes to unwind and get a relaxing massage. Both sponsorship options provide you with a booth near the center of the Convention Mall floor, so you will be stationed where the Tour & Travel Exchange action happens.

Contact NTA Vice President of Sales and Sponsorship Karla DiNardo, at 800.682.8886, ext. 4232 (U.S. and Canada) or 859.226.4232 for more information. Also, don't forget to check out the 2008 Sponsorship Guide for additional opportunities.

top of pageRemembering Gilbert C. Elmore

A long-time NTA member and friend of the association, Gilbert C. "Gil" Elmore, passed away Oct. 1 at the age of 78.

Through his work as the public relations director for "The Shepherd of the Hills" outdoor drama for more than 20 years, service with the Division of Missouri Tourism and role with various bus and travel associations, Elmore was a pioneer in the Branson/Missouri tourism industry. He was inducted into the Missouri Travel and Tourism Hall of Fame in 1999. Elmore joined the cast at Branson's Old Mill Theatre in 1962 and for the next 20-plus years he played many roles, but is best known for his more than 2,000 performances as Jim Lane in "The Shepherd of the Hills."

He is survived by his wife Mackey, one daughter, Fran Walz, and her husband Sam. Memorial contributions should be made to Western Taney County Fire District, White River Valley Historical Society or Make-a-Wish Foundation.

top of pageCasinos/Gaming and the Atlantic Coast Part of February Courier

The February 2008 issue of Courier will include articles on a many relevant topics, ranging from a product-themed feature on casinos and gaming to a destination story on Africa. These, and the many other destination and business articles, offer you plenty of ways to get your company or destination in front of tour operators through advertising.

The February issue will showcase the Atlantic Coast (Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia); Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan; British Columbia; Idaho; Montana; North Dakota; South Dakota; and Wyoming.

The space deadline for February is Dec. 10 so there is still plenty of time to get in the magazine read by 86 percent of NTA tour operators each month. To reach your account executive call 800.682.8886, ext. 4241 (U.S. and Canada) or 859.226.4241 for more information.

top of page

Don't forget to register for the 2008 NTA Annual Convetion, to be held Nov. 15-19 in Pittsburgh.

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