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Grassroots Congressional Summit Announced | The Membership Directory Is in Production.

3/22/2011

Volume 31, Issue 12

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TODAY'S ARTICLES
Grassroots Congressional Summit Announced: May 11-12 in D.C.
The Membership Directory Is in Production. Is Your NTA Online Profile Info Correct?
Panel Issues ‘Better Way' for Airport Security, Faces Objections
Chinese Road Shows Deliver Maximum Exposure in Minimal Time
Not On P2P? Here's What You're Missing.
Travel Updates for Japan; NTA Member Cited in MSNBC.com Story
How to Do the Right Thing When Visiting Developing Countries
Tourism Cares Welcomes New Director of Marketing
Join with Eco-conscious Citizens for Earth Hour on Saturday Night
Reach 1,500 Tour Operators Who Move 9 Million Travelers Each Year
China PDT Highlights New Product and Possibilities
Industry News and Updates


Grassroots Congressional Summit Announced: May 11-12 in D.C.  

NTA and the Southeast Tourism Society are celebrating National Tourism Week with a combined Grassroots Congressional Summit in Washington, D.C., on May 11–12. Join association leaders in a luncheon and meet-up with federal legislators who are key proponents of travel and tourism in Congress.

NTA and STS are keeping costs for the event low—only $50—to encourage participation. The two-day event will also include Capitol Hill visits and other opportunities. Additional travel sector organizations are being invited to participate. For more information, e-mail Steve Richer, public affairs advocate for NTA.

The Grassroots Congressional Summit is a combination of two established tourism sector events: NTA's Grassroots Symposium and STS's Congressional Summit. 

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The Membership Directory Is in Production. Is Your NTA Online Profile Info Correct? 

Now is the time to review and update your Membership Directory profile. NTA will soon publish its annual directory—the one that sits on desktops year-round and is used by 80 percent of tour operators. Make sure your information is current.

All updates need to be completed by March 31 to make it into the Membership Directory.

Spruce up your profile now for the directory and get a head start for Convention '11 appointment scheduling, which begins in August. It takes only a few minutes.

Need help? NTA will do it for you! Call your changes into NTA HQ (+1.859.226.4444) or e-mail us those changes, along with any images you want to add.

To update your profile yourself, here's how:

  1. First, log in using your e-mail address and password. The Member Log In box is the dark blue box that appears at the top right of the NTAonline.com homepage.

    member log in box 2011

  2. Next, select "Update Your Profile" from the same blue box.
  3. Update and edit your company's information—and any logo and images—by selecting the links in the light blue box.
  4. Select the gray link titled "Company Description" and enter up to 100 words that describe your organization.
  5. NEW: To upload your company logo and/or pictures, select "Manage Images" in the light blue box. From here, you can follow the directions to add photos. The images can be .gif or .jpeg files and should be RGB files, not CYMK. The system will automatically size your image to fit; however, the ideal size is 226 pixels wide by 175 pixels high. Also, it is usually best to make sure the file is below 300 DPI.
  6. Finished? Be sure to click the save button at the bottom. 

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Panel Issues ‘Better Way' for Airport Security, Faces Objections 

Recommendations are in from a panel of travel and security experts assembled by the U.S. Travel Association to examine airport security. The group's goals included increasing efficiency at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints, decreasing passenger wait times and screening passengers based on risk.

The panel (see last week's Tuesday story for details) made a number of recommendations, including the following:

  • Implement a trusted traveler program and refocus resources on the highest risk passengers.
  • Improve preparation of travelers by better communicating security rules and regulations.
  • Encourage fewer carry-on bags by standardizing rules and requiring airlines to allow one checked bag as part of a passenger's base airfare.
  • Reduce duplicative TSA screenings for low-risk international arrivals.
  • Expand trusted traveler programs to qualified international passengers.
  • Give TSA authority over the entire checkpoint area.
  • Develop a strategy for implementing necessary checkpoint technology capabilities.

The full USTA report is available here. According to the report, extra carry-on baggage resulting from checked baggage fees led to some $260 million in increased costs to TSA, along with increased wait times at security checkpoints.  After the panel's call for airlines to remove some baggage charges, the Air Transport Association of America issued a statement critical of the panel's recommendations.

TSA also responded, on its blog, to the call for a known-traveler program, stating that TSA is on board with such a program but must examine several issues surrounding its implementation. One concern is that a person with malevolent intentions might establish a spotless record in order to become a trusted traveler.

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Chinese Road Shows Deliver Maximum Exposure in Minimal Time  

Road shows are hot marketing tools in China, and NTA is getting behind the wheel. Covering a lot of ground in little time, these two-day events are a win-win for exhibiting U.S. companies and destinations and the participating Chinese agents/operators, all of whom want to efficiently make new contacts, share information and learn about resources.

NTA's road shows, held in conjunction with the U.S. Commercial Service offices in China, make stops at select American 5-star hotels in Chinese cities. During the morning show, each participating company makes a 10-minute presentation, then a U.S. visa officer holds a Q&A session. That's followed by a two-hour block in which attendees can visit company booths and speak with representatives. After lunch, the group travels to the next city to prepare for the next morning's show.

We have two road shows this spring; both follow major trade shows. After the China Outbound Travel & Tourism Market, April 13–15 in Beijing, road show participants visit Chongqing and Chengdu, both in southwestern China, with very hot outbound markets (April 18–19). In May, immediately after the World Travel Fair in Shanghai, the road show travels to Hangzhou on May 16 and Nanjing on May 17. Both cities are in East China, with matured markets and travel agencies.

Companies that participate in NTA's U.S. Pavilion at COTTM will receive $100 discount for each road show that follows this event. For more information, e-mail Haybina Hao, NTA's director of international development.

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Not On P2P? Here's What You're Missing. 

P2P logo 2010NTA's Partner2Partner is an online business community where NTA members can buy and sell all day every day. If you haven't checked in or uploaded a package, here's what you're missing:

  • Free NTA Online homepage promotion. All packages posted on the P2P site appear in the P2P scroll box on the NTA Online homepage. The NTA homepage gets an average 35,000 views a month. Are your packages scrolling?
  • Fill Your Tours. Do you have a tour that needs just a few more spaces filled? P2P is great for connecting quickly with other operators to fill your space.
  • Announce Last-minute Deals. Operators check the P2P site for any deals from sellers. Sellers, post your last-minute deals for the operators.

The P2P program is FREE for members, so take advantage of your membership! It's just one more way NTA can help get your name out there and drive potential business.

To log in to the P2P site, use your same login information (e-mail/password) for NTAOnline.com. If you have any questions or would like a demo, please call 800.682.8886 (U.S. & Canada) or +1.859.226.4444 or e-mail us.

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Travel Updates for Japan; NTA Member Cited in MSNBC.com Story 

NTA continues to monitor news about the earthquake's toll on Japan's citizens and its tourism industry:

  • The U.S. Department of State is recommending, as a precaution, that U.S. citizens within 50 miles of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant evacuate the area.
  • The Japan National Tourism Organization provides daily updates; check JNTO's Web site.
  • Five organizations, including the International Air Transport Association and the World Health Organization, confirmed there are no restrictions on air travel to Japan's major airports, and there are no health reasons that require airport screenings of passengers arriving from Japan.
  • NTA's friend and Yokohama resident Michio Endo, suggests NTA members send an e-mail of encouragement if their city has a Sister Cities relationship with any cities in northeast Japan.

NTA member Mike Roberts, owner of Samurai Tours, was quoted in a story about traveling in Japan on MSNBC.com. He was in Japan with a group when the earthquake struck.

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How to Do the Right Thing When Visiting Developing Countries 

An article in the New York Times, "Is There a Right Way to Spend Money When Traveling?" has excellent tips for travelers—both you and your clients—when visiting developing countries. Suggestions include:

  • Overbuy gifts and souvenirs; your dollars fuel employment.
  • Strive to understand local citizens; they may be economically poor but culturally rich.
  • Set a budget for how much to spend or tip-and don't give to panhandlers.
  • Support working people by eating local food, buying from street vendors and paying to have your luggage carried.

The article suggests that tour operators can provide guidelines for responsible tourism to help their clients avoid the stress of rethinking each point of decision.

Sustainable Travel International, an NTA partner, is another source for information on buying local and supporting fair trade. For details, visit the STI Web site.

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Tourism Cares Welcomes NewTourism Cares Director of Marketing 

Tourism Cares is pleased to welcome Margaret Anne Lara as director of marketing. Prior to joining Tourism Cares, Lara served as the vice president of communications and product development for the San Antonio Area Foundation, directing the organization's rebranding, cause-related marketing, donor and grantee communications, social and traditional media outreach and special event management.

An award-winning communications expert with more than 25 years' experience in the field, Lara has provided leadership to many nonprofit cultural and historical organizations, including the marketing and communications campaign for the McNay Art Museum's $50.8 million capital campaign. She also oversaw the advertising, public and media relation efforts for the museum's 50th anniversary as well as the $14.7 million renovation and restoration of its historic core and grounds.

Lara served as board president for NOWCastSA, a nonprofit online community news and information project, and CI:Now. Since 2004 she has been on the board for the American Association of Museum's PR and marketing committee, serving in various leadership roles including regional director, annual meeting program co-chair, marketplace coordinator, technology chair and secretary.

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Join with Eco-conscious Citizens for Earth Hour on Saturday Night  

earth hour logoOrganized by the World Wildlife Federation, Earth Hour is an annual collective display of global commitment to the environment. Every year Earth Hour calls for individuals, businesses and communities to show their concern for the planet by turning off their lights for one hour.

This year, that hour begins at 8:30 p.m. (local time) on Saturday, March 26.

Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, when 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off to take a stand against climate change. The next year more than 50 million people across 35 countries and territories participated. Global landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, CN Tower in Toronto, Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and Rome's Colosseum all stood in darkness as symbols of hope.

For more information about this year's observance, including tips for organizing an event, visit The Earth Hour Web site.

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Reach 1,500 Tour Operators Who Move 9 Million Travelers Each Year  

"There is no better way to reach all the tour operators of NTA than Courier! The magazine provides a wealth of information in an easy-to-read format."   
—Shari Stoltz, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Courier advertiser

Promote yourself in the June issue of Courier, which is packed full of must-read features and articles, including Working with Receptives; Soft & Hard Adventure; Ecotourism; Native American; First Nations & Western Heritage; Maryland; Pennsylvania; Virginia; Washington, D.C.; Hawaii; and Gulf Coast and Latin America.  

To put your company directly in the hands of qualified tour operators, call +1859.219.3533 or e-mail us today

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China PDT Highlights New Product and Possibilities 

Saskatchewan ParkFrom Beijing to Shanghai, NTA tour operators took an up-close-and-personal look at an incredible destination during the Splendid China product development trip in February. Participants gathered new product ideas and established new in-country contacts to help in developing tours to this ancient land. NTA thanks China Connection Tours and John Qiu for the hard work it took to make this PDT possible.

To get a firsthand account of the trip, look for the story from Jennifer Robertson of About Tours, one of the PDT participants, in the May Courier. And there are more PDTs on the way this year: Explore Saskatchewan, Aug. 30–Sept. 4 (photo at right), and Exotic Land of Morocco, Nov. 3–13. If you're interested in participating, visit NTA Online for more details.

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Industry News and Updates

  • As budget cuts threaten to eliminate the Washington State Tourism Office, travel-industry groups are launching initiatives to attract more visitors.
  • The Air Transport Association of America reported that passenger revenue rose 13 percent in February 2011, compared to February 2010, marking the 14th consecutive month of growth. Miles flown by paying passengers rose 2.1 percent.
  • In 2010, 60 million international visitors traveled to the United States, a nine percent increase over 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Visits by overseas residents were up 11 percent.

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