#1 Largest Resource on the Internet for Specialty Markets in the Travel & Meetings/Events Industry

Thursday, February 28, 2013

NTA Addresses Faith-based Tourism in Jordan

LEXINGTON, Ky. USA (Feb. 28, 2013)— Faith-based travelers hold the key to Jordan's growing tourism industry, Kevin Wright told 150 local travel professionals during a workshop in Amman, Jordan, on Saturday. Wright, NTA's director of growth markets, was invited to speak by theWrightJordanUSAID USAID Jordan Tourism Development Project.
"As more people travel on faith-based trips than ever before, Jordan is well-positioned to capitalize on a bigger share of the North American religious market," Wright said.

"The reason for this is simple: Jordan delivers a biblically rich destination combined with a dynamic vacation experience of culture, history, adventure and fun. This is what today's faith-based traveler is searching for."

Among Jordan's attractions for faith-based travelers, the two most prominent biblical sites are Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan, the baptism site of Jesus; and Mount Nebo, the site from where Moses viewed the Promised Land. Other places of interest include Jerash, Umm Qais, Madaba, Amman, the Dead Sea and the ancient city of Petra.

The country also offers an array of authentic experiences for visitors, according to Malia Asfour, director of the Jordan Tourism Board of North America. "The people of Jordan are extremely hospitable, and we have first-class accommodations that are quite lovely," Asfour said. "However, I recommend going off the beaten path and camping under the stars in Wadi Rum, or spending a day at our famous Feynan Ecolodge learning the ways of life of the local Bedouin tribes."

Wright said that, in addition to religious exploration and affirmation, people of faith travel together because they enjoy the fellowship and fun of doing things with like-minded people. In Jordan those activities can include riding camels, tasting local cuisine, meeting with local faith communities and participating in volunteer projects.

In his talk, Wright outlined avenues into the North American religious travel market and explained what Jordan tourism professionals can do to attract more faith-based travelers. "It's important that you identify and establish relationships with North American trade professionals who sell to faith-based clients," Wright told the group. "The best ways to achieve this includes making personal sales calls and outreach efforts, attending religious travel events and, when appropriate, hiring U.S.-based sales representatives."

Prior to the seminar Wright participated in an NTA-organized Holy Land Product Development Trip that brought NTA tour operators to the area. By visiting iconic sites, meeting with local suppliers and experiencing the culture of Jordan and Israel, the tour operators can develop Holy Land itineraries for faith-based group travel.

The session that Wright addressed was part of a "Know Your Niche" USAID seminar series held in cooperation with the Jordan Tourism Board and the Jordan Inbound Tour Operators Association. The organizations' shared goal for Saturday's session was to help tour suppliers, receptive operators and destination marketers expand their reach into the growing faith-tourism market.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Photos from NTA's Holy Land Product Development Trip (Israel and Jordan)

NTA's Holy Land Product Development Trip is providing participants withJordanBagpipe sensational scenes and experiences. The PDT includes visits to Jerusalem, Bethlehem and the Sea of Galilee in Israel, and Amman, Petra and Mount Nebo in Jordan.

Kevin Wright, NTA's director of growth markets, has been sending photos throughout the 13-day journey, and you can view them now on Facebook.

You'll see landmarks, landscapes and group shots, plus ... well, as Wright said, "No trip to the Middle East would be complete without a little bagpipe dancing in ancient Jerash, Jordan."
Look for more details on the PDT when the group returns home.

NTA's Wright Speaks in Jordan on Faith-based Tourism

From NTA's E-Newsletter

Kevin Wright spoke at a "Know Your Niche" seminar in Amman, Jordan, on Saturday. Wright, NTA's director of growth markets, addressed 150 local travel professionals and outlined Jordan's potential for reaching deeper into the NorthWrightJordanUSAID American faith-based travel market.

"As more people travel on faith-based trips than ever before, Jordan is well-positioned to capitalize on a bigger share of the North American religious market," Wright said. "The reason for this is simple: Jordan delivers a biblically rich destination combined with a dynamic vacation experience of culture, history, adventure and fun. This is what today's faith-based traveler is searching for."

The seminar was organized by the USAID Jordan Tourism
Development Project in cooperation with the Jordan Tourism Board and the Jordan Inbound Tour Operators Association. Prior to the event, Wright and a group of NTA tour operators participated in the Holy Land Product Development Trip.

To see images from the PDT and the seminar, follow this link to the NTA Facebook page.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Video: Discover the Country of Jordan and Hear What Travel Industry Professionals Say About This Remarkable Destination

Video Description 
The country of Jordan offers travelers a fascinating and unforgettable travel experience. Home to some of the world's most prominent religious sites such as Bethany Beyond the Jordan (baptism site of Jesus) and Mt. Nebo (where Moses viewed the Promised Land), Jordan is also home to some of the world's most prominent historical sites (Petra - one of the Seven Wonders of the World), health and wellness sites (The Dead Sea) and adventure sites (Wadi Rum).

This video features brief video clips of travel industry professionals sharing their highlights of visiting Jordan. It is filmed on-site at The Dead Sea and those interviewed include Ellison Travel & Tours, Cruises and Tours Worldwide, Ed-Ventures, and Kevin J. Wright. For more info www.VisitJordan.com

Friday, February 8, 2013

NTA delves deeper into specialty markets (GTM Industry News)

Association hosts first Family Travel and Adventure Tourism Leaders Forum   (Jan 22, 2013)


ORLANDO - NTA broadened its convention focus on specialty markets by hosting the association’s first Family Travel and Adventure Tourism Leaders Forum.

The session was held during Travel Exchange, an appointment and trade show held in partnership with the United Motorcoach Association through Jan. 24 at the Orange County Convention Center.

The -day event also features NTA’s Faith Tourism Leaders Forum, Hispanics in Travel Caucus and Destination Leaders Forum.

“With such a goldmine of industry and market leaders in one association, it only makes sense to bring you together so you can strategize, do business and lead the industry together,” Jim Reddekopp Jr., NTA chairman/CEO and owner of Earth Bound Tours, told the 75 delegates at the Family Travel and Adventure Tourism Leaders Forum. 

“By answering these questions as a group, we position each of our organizations for even greater success.”

The session featured Nancy Schretter, managing editor of Family Travel Network.

She told participants they are missing opportunities for growth if they limit their definition of family travel to two parents with children younger than 12 years old.

“I propose we define it as any combination of family members traveling together, regardless of age,” Schretter said. “It’s the bonding experience that’s important.”

Bonding can also play a role in adventure travel for groups, said Keith Baron, of Abercrombie & Kent USA, during a panel discussion.

“When like-minded people come together, they can build a bond very quickly,” he said.
Baron pointed out that people often think of adventure travel as involving strenuous physical activity, but it can also include connecting with cultures of different countries as well as travel to extreme destinations.
He was joined on the panel by Bart Donnelly, of Travel Alberta; and Debra Asberry of Women Traveling Together.

After hearing from the panel and Schretter, participants generated ideas for further developing niche markets.

NTA plans to compile the ideas and suggestions, distribute them to participants and use them to develop more programs and education, NTA spokesman Bob Rouse said.

Booming Family Travel Is Hot Opportunity for Agents (by Robin Amster of Travel Market Report)

Outstanding article below by Robin Amster and published by Travel Market Report on one of the biggest, fastest growing markets in tourism today: Family and Multi-Generational Travel

To view article link click here: http://www.travelmarketreport.com/articles/Booming-Family-Travel-Is-Hot-Opportunity-for-Agents

Booming Family Travel Is Hot Opportunity for Agents
by Robin Amster (published by Travel Market Report)

Travel agents who embrace a new, broader definition of family travel can flourish in today’s booming market – and time-starved parents are hungry for their expert help, according to family travel expert Nancy Schretter.

Some 100 million to 115 million trips per year include children, Schretter, founder and managing editor of the Family Travel Network, said during a presentation at NTA’s recent Travel Exchange in Florida. That makes family travel leisure travel’s fastest-growing niche, she said.

Broad market
Schretter proposes a definition of family travel as being “any combination of family members traveling together, regardless of age or type of travel.”

This is broader than the stereotypic definition of two parents traveling with children under the age of 12 or even the more recent understanding of the market as encompassing one or two parents traveling with kids under 18.

“The first thing agents need to do in this market is think about the definition of family travel,” Schretter told Travel Market Report.

Family trips are, by definition, group travel, a lucrative business for agents, she noted. The growing popularity of large multigenerational trips, often for 18 to 20 people, can boost agent commissions even higher.

Overwhelmed parents
It’s true that significant numbers of parents book family travel on the Internet. But Schretter said this actually presents agents with a “phenomenal opportunity.”

“With time poverty, and the fact that the Internet has become so unwieldy, parents are feeling overwhelmed,” she said. “They’re interested in going to a family-oriented agent who is really a destination specialist and a one-stop shop.
“The key is for agents to know the market inside out, so if someone says, ‘This is what I’m looking for,’ they can match them with the right property or tour.

“It’s easier, for instance, to find resorts for families with four- to 12-year-olds. But there are not a lot of resorts out there with good facilities for babies and toddlers. And where do families go to capture the imagination of young adults?”

Many types of travel
Agents need to know about more than popular family-friendly destinations, because the family market “cuts across so many types of travel,” Schretter said.

These include tours, custom programs, cruises and adventure travel trips as well as weekend getaways and long vacations.

Popular family destinations include Florida, California, Hawaii, national parks and dude ranches.

There is also a growing focus — especially among families with annual incomes of $125,000 or more — on international travel, said Schretter. This often involves long-haul exotic destinations and experiences such as Mediterranean cruises and land programs to Africa, Turkey, Costa Rica, Peru and Ecuador.

In search of memories
The common denominator for all family travel though is a quest for lasting memories, Schretter said.

“At no time in our history have parents and grandparents lived further apart and had their time together be so constrained,” she said. “Vacations are seen as the one time when families can get together and bond.

“And as the baby boomers are getting older, they want to leave behind experiences, not things.”


Family travel is leisure travel’s fastest growing niche, according to Nancy Schretter, founder and managing editor of the Family Travel Network.

Following are key market statistics provided by Schretter:

• 100 million to 115 million trips per year include children.

• Families take an average 4.5 leisure trips a year, according to the U.S. Travel Association.

• 1.5 million children cruise annually, according to CLIA.

• 44% of leisure travelers brought the kids along last year.

• 37% of leisure trips by grandparents included their grandchildren, according to the 2012 Portrait of American Travelers Survey, by MMGY Global.


Enhancing marketing of Jordan through the "Know Your Niche" series

Amman –Jordan's tourism industry is taking further steps to tap into new niche markets as the USAID Jordan Tourism Development Project launched a new workshop series "Know Your Niche to Grow your Niche" in cooperation with the Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) and Jordan Inbound Tour Operators Association (JITOA). The first workshop focused on eco-tourism and adventure and was opened last Saturday by H.E. the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities.

"Eco and adventure travelers are the last to cancel bookings and the first to return, spend longer durations, and their spent dollars trickle down to local communities. This makes eco and adventure travel a very attractive market segment for Jordan to capitalize on and grow," stated H.E. Nayef Al Fayez, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities.

 "We believe that Eco and Adventure Tourism are two of the major niche markets that Jordan can capitalize on in increasing the number of visitors, and we are lucky to have with us today several experts who will share with us their expertise in these fields," said H.E. Munir Nassar, JITOA Chairman.

"Our support to this important initiative comes as a response to global travel trends and the growing demand of travelers for more diverse experiences," said Mr. Ibrahim Osta, the USAID Jordan Tourism Development Project Chief of Party. "Jordan is a country that has it all in terms of touris  m offerings, and there is a huge potential for it to attract more visitors by smartly promoting its wide-range of products," he added.

The workshop introduced 150 tour operators, hoteliers and guides to eco-tourism and adventure travel, highlighting niche insights and trends, types of packages and ways to develop products as well as promote experiences. Three international experts with keen knowledge of eco-tourism and adventure provided first-hand information to participants in order to help them achieve better penetration of target markets and the highest potential segments through enhanced tour itineraries which will increase sales and tourism arrivals. 

Also, a panel of local niche experts presented strengths and opportunities for Jordan niche product offering.
Eco-tourism and adventure travel are the fastest growing niche markets internationally, achieving 15 - 30% growth a year as opposed to 4% growth of classic tourism and resilient niches worldwide. Jordan offers a wide range of products that can appeal to many segments seeking rich and diverse experiences which encompass authenticity, deep-rooted history and rich culture. In addition, the demand on eco-tourism and adventure in Jordan is already increasing.

Other workshops will take place over the next four months, covering other market niches; including incentive travel, voluntourism, astro-tourism, religious tourism and family holidays as part of the "Know Your Niche" series. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

(PR Release) Louis Cruises Unveils Faith-Based Travel “Pilgrimage Voyages” Mediterranean Cruise and Land Tour Itinerary

Louis Cruises is introducing a new faith-based travel cruise program takes travelers to explore destinations rich in history and religious significance sailing on a Mediterranean cruise to exciting ports including Thessaloniki and Kavala in Greece; then cruising on to Istanbul, Dikili, Kusadasi in Turkey; before heading to Patmos and Syros in Greece; then back to Athens where the itinerary commences.

Miami, FL (PRWEB) January 31, 2013
LOUIS CRUISES, the leader in 3, 4 and 7 day Greek Islands and Turkey cruises, is pleased to unveil an exciting new cruise itinerary, introduced under the name “Pilgrimage Voyages” that invites travelers to share a voyage of religious discovery to Thessaloniki, Kavala, Istanbul, Dikili, Ancient Ephesus, Patmos, and Syros – locations holding strong relationships with history and Christianity.

The scheduled departures of the 7-day cruise itinerary “Pilgrimage Voyages” include: October 18th and October 25th of 2013. Sailing from the port of Lavrion in Athens, Greece, this faith-based travel cruise program takes travelers to explore destinations rich in history and religious significance starting with Thessaloniki and Kavala in Greece; then cruising on to Istanbul, Dikili, Kusadasi in Turkey; before heading to Patmos and Syros in Greece; then back to Athens.

In Thessaloniki, travelers will visit the ancient walls, the House of Jason and the Agora before delving into Veria. Next it's on to tour Kavala (biblical Neapolis), Philippi and the Baptistery of Lydia. Participants will enjoy a worship service on the river where Paul's first European convert, Lydia, was baptized. In Istanbul, pilgrims will explore Hagia Sofia, Topkapi Palace and the Blue Mosque. The next stop on this inspired faith-based travel program is Dikili where travelers will discover the treasures of Pergamon. Visitors will experience Ancient Ephesus in Kusadasi and take-in the spiritual peace at House of Virgin Mary. Patmos awaits as the next cruise port to reveal its imposing history with visits to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: The Monastery of St. John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse where St. John the Divine dictated the Christian scriptural Book of Revelation.

“It has been nearly 2000 years since the Apostle Paul set out from the Holy Land on a journey that was to play an immeasurable role in the dissemination of Christian ideas and the establishment of Christian communities. This cruise itinerary offers a rare opportunity for all those interested in the history of the Christian faith to relive parts of Apostle Paul's journey, and literally follow in his footsteps,” said Nicholas Filippidis, Director of Product Development in North America for Louis Cruises.

The sense of fulfillment and understanding acquired from participating in this soul searching, eye-opening cruise tour cannot be acquired from books or movies, to actually follow the journey of the Apostle Paul, on the paths that he took, to view the archeological sights and relive his life in your heart and soul is a blessed educational faith-based travel tour.

With 25 time-honored years in cruising throughout the Mediterranean and 78 years of award winning history in tourism, Louis Cruises offers an unparalleled cruise experience onboard its celebrated fleet of destination-friendly cruise ships.

Louis Cruises takes extra care to design itineraries that include the best ports in their best seasons allowing ample time to enjoy their uniquely individual charms coupled with meticulously planned shore excursions for a truly insightful look into each destination. The line’s vessels transport passengers, both literally and figuratively, to the lands of philosophers and dreamers -- from the grandeur of Ancient Greece and the legendary Greek Isles to the treasures of Turkey and beyond. Sailing with Louis Cruises, travelers can expect a complete destination experience, timely arrivals, flexible and imaginative itineraries, smooth embarkation and disembarkation, fascinating shore excursions, and unparalleled Greek hospitality for a lifetime of enriching memories.

Louis Cruises’ itineraries can be booked on-line at LouisCruises.com or through most major tour operators in the U.S. and Canada that pay commissions to travel agents and offer the convenience of one stop service for air/land and cruise services (commissions offered by tour operators may vary). For further information or to order the company’s brochure call (877) 568-4787, send an e-mail to cruising(at)louiscruises(dot)com or visit the company’s web site at: LouisCruises.com.

About Louis Group:
Louis Group was founded in 1935 and has over the decades evolved into a leading tourism, hospitality and travel group in the Eastern Mediterranean. Louis Hotels owns and manages 19 four and five star hotels in all of Cyprus’ resorts, including the Hilton Park Nicosia and the Greek islands of Corfu, Zante, Crete, Mykonos and Rhodes. With a fleet of five cruise ships, Louis Cruises sails from Piraeus, Istanbul and Kusadasi to the Greek islands and Turkey’s most enticing destinations. For more information on Louis Group and its subsidiaries, please visit our websites at: LouisHotels.com, LouisCruises.com and MykonosTheoxenia.com.