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Friday, April 26, 2013

Memories and Highlights of our Trip to Jordan (by Kevin J. Wright with Courier Magazine)

I recently traveled to the country of Jordan with eleven other tour operator professionals. It was a remarkable trip on many levels. You can read about our journeys through my following story published in Courier magazine (just click on the link below):

Article link: http://onlinedigitalpublishing.com/publication/?i=155907&p=70

Publication: Courier magazine



Thursday, April 25, 2013

5 Minutes with Kevin J. Wright Interview (by Erika Fifelski of Groups Today Magazine)

I was very honored to be interviewed by Erika Fifelski of Groups Today on the topic of Faith-based Travel.  The interview was published in the May/June issue of Groups Today.

Article title: Five Minutes with Kevin J. Wright
Author: Erika Fifelski
Publication: Groups Today

Here is the interview article in its entirety:

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

1 Year Anniversary of this Blog: 23,000+ Page views!!

Thank you to everyone for making this a very successful blog in just its first year.

I debuted this blog on April 24, 2012.  In just one year, it's received more than 23,000 page views!

Here's a toast to growth markets in tourism everywhere.


Kevin J. Wright

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Faith-based Travels to the Bahamas (Going on Faith)

Wonderful cover story on Faith-based Travels to the Bahamas in Going on Faith publication.

Title: Faith-based Trip to Bahamas
Author: Brian Jewel of Going on Faith
Link: http://www.goingonfaith.com/Article.aspx?id=437

Here's the opening excerpt.....

"Patricia Bazard is determined to see that I feel at home in the Bahamas.

I’m fresh off the airplane after arriving in Nassau, the capital city of this country comprising more than 3,000 Caribbean islands. Within an hour or so of landing, a handful of American visitors and I have been whisked to the home of Bazard. Joined by her family and several friends from the area, she has prepared an evening of Bahamian food, music and dance that will make a rousing and personal introduction to the Bahamas.

I’ve come to Nassau at the invitation of Linville Johnson, deputy director of religious markets for the Bahamas Tourist Office. I’ll spend the next four days exploring this city as well as Freeport on Grand Bahama Island. Although the country is in the height of a celebration in honor of local hero Sidney Poitier, I will find the following days filled with fascinating cultural encounters and an invigorating dose of natural beauty."

Click here to read the rest of Faith-based Trip to Bahamas.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

300 Travel Industry Professionals from 45 States Met with U.S. Senators and Representatives

‘Fabulous Event’ in D.C. Connects Tourism Pros with Legislators

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 18, 2013)— More than 300 travel and tourism professionals from 45 states paid hundreds of visits to U.S. senators and representatives—covering more than half of Congress—during Destination: Capitol Hill last week in Washington, D.C. This  legislative fly-in, organized by the U.S. Travel Association along with NTA, the Southeast Tourism Society and the Destination Marketing Association International, combined advocacy with education.

What a fabulous event in the nation’s capital,” said Tom Jaffa of Jaffa Travel & Receptive Services in Seattle, who chairs the NTA Government Relations Committee. “In my nearly 20 years of congressional visits on behalf of NTA and our industry, this was one of the best set of visits I have experienced. Our team visited with every Washington state congressional office, and we are already seeing results.”

DMAI board chair Greg Edwards also rated the two-day event a success. “Destination: Capitol Hill really showed unity from all travel partners, including corporate, destination marketing organizations, travel-related associations and state tourism offices,” said Edwards, who also serves as president of the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau. “I believe we made solid points about the opportunities to strengthen the U.S. travel industry.”

Prior to visiting legislators, 100-plus NTA members participated in educational sessions with elected officials, leaders from federal agencies and tourism associations, and seasoned lobbyists, all discussing tourism issues. The sessions prepared participants for meetings with their senators and representatives, said Patti Culp, executive director of the Alabama Travel Council and recipient of NTA’s James D. Santini Award for long-term commitment to advocacy.

“Our congressional leaders learned from us the issues we support,” said Culp. “We encouraged them to ramp up their involvement in the implementation of crucial measures.”

NTA’s legislative priorities center on ways to increase tourism by easing restrictions on international travelers, continuing U.S.-inbound marketing efforts and improving the nation’s transportation infrastructure.

While in Washington, several NTA tour operators and leaders joined with the United Motorcoach Association and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator for a Motorcoach Safety Roundtable. "Our session led to several initiatives that will help FMCSA educate tour operators and make motorcoach transportation safer, which is NTA’s focus,” said Lisa Simon, NTA president. “We look forward to working further with FMCSA and UMA to develop and promote these ideas.”

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Barbados Tourism Authority Exploring New Growth Markets

From The Barbados Advocate Newspaper

Article link: http://www.barbadosadvocate.com/newsitem.asp?more=editorial&NewsID=30065

Here is excerpt from above article:

"The real push though continues to be the tourism industry. Policy-makers are seeking fresh, creative ways to entice potential visitors to these shores. One such strategy focuses on heritage tourism, with the promotional boost behind the UNESCO World Heritage Inscription of Bridgetown and its Garrison being immeasurable to our tourism industry. Other avenues which are being explored include community tourism, eco-tourism, sports-based tourism, health tourism and faith-based tourism, all of which have the potential to bring in millions in dollars to this island.

Furthermore, the Barbados Tourism Authority is pushing its Rihanna Campaign, which seeks to bring publicity to the island by attracting potential visitors who follow the Barbadian songstress via social media. By all accounts, that campaign is working exceptionally well.

The resulting good news for the tourism industry is an anticipated increase in bookings for the Caribbean this year, according to tourism stakeholders in the USA and Canada."

Friday, April 12, 2013

Culinary Travel: Fueld by the Plate (by Michelle Baran of Travel Weekly)

A thorough story on the culinary tourism marketplace and industry has just been published by Michelle Baran of Travel Weekly.  

Article link:

The following are several brief excerpts from Baran's article:

* A decade ago, "you had a situation where food tourism wasn't really [on the map]," said Erik Wolf, who founded the World Food Travel Association in Portland, Ore., in 2003. Today, "it's something where journalists around the world are writing about it. It's really gotten quite big."

* Wolf estimates that food tourism has grown into a $150 billion industry annually, a figure the association came up with based on internal research.

* "The question isn't whether culinary tourism is growing -- which it is, almost exponentially," said CBS News Travel Editor Peter Greenberg. "It's how it's growing. We've evolved from culinary tourism, where travelers merely watched experts in demonstration kitchens, to full-on participatory travel, where travelers get up close and personal with chefs, the products and the process itself. It's travel that embraces a more genuine, authentic experience."

* Currently, culinary travel shows account for approximately 20% of the Travel Channel's programming schedule, which includes offerings such as "Man vs. Food" and "Bizarre Foods."

Friday, April 5, 2013

Spring break 2013 is all about family travel (by Sally Rummel)

Article link:

by Sally Rummel

Here are a few excerpts from Sally Rummel's article on family travel:

"If you’re one of the millions of families traveling on spring break this year, you’re probably mostly packed and getting excited about your travel adventure."

"Chances are you may have a high schooler or two traveling with you, in keeping with the trend of families traveling together for spring break instead of kids traveling on their own at age 17 or 18."

"For families and kids already thinking about next year, now is the time to begin planning for Spring Break 2014. When you use a travel agent, you don’t have to pay for your trip all at once. “You can make a minimum deposit, and then save up the rest of the money until the final payment is due, usually about 45 days before the trip."
 Click here to read full story Spring Break 2013 is All About Family Travel

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

NTA Picks Portland to Host Contact ’14


LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 3, 2013)—Portland, Ore., will be the 2014 site of Contact, NTA's popular tour operator retreat, association and Travel Oregon leaders announced.

 “Portland has a lot to offer tour operators in terms of specialty travel—adventure, cultural, and wine and culinary—all with an eye toward sustainability,” said Lisa Simon, NTA president, adding that Portland’s youthful appeal plays to Contact’s operator-to-operator strength. “Mutual mentoring in Portland will enable older operators to learn about current trends and technologies, while younger professionals can learn tried-and-true business practices.”

 Education sessions tailored for operators are the backbone of Contact, and networking and sightseeing events allow attendees to interact with each other and to discover and develop new product. Next year’s Contact will be the first located in the Pacific Northwest.

“Travel Oregon and Travel Portland are thrilled about hosting NTA Contact 2014,” said Lisa Itel, global sales manager for Travel Oregon. “Portland will be a fantastic host city, and we can’t wait to capture the hearts of NTA with our quirky landmarks, farm-to-table cuisine and world-class pinots.”

The three-day retreat is slated for Aug. 7-9, 2014, and will be headquartered at the DoubleTree by Hilton Portland. This year’s Contact is in Hawai`i, the Big Island, on Aug. 15, 16 and 17.