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

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Inbound Specialty Markets Yield Business for Tour Operators

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Much of the recent attention on specialty markets championed by National Tour Association tour operators has focused on faith-based tourism and the ever-growing China market. In both segments, NTA has spearheaded education and facilitated product development. But another market that thrives, especially for tour operators hosting international groups, is agritourism. Tailor-made study tours appeal to a variety of agribusiness professionals, including farmers, researchers, and agricultural students.
Inbound Specialty Markets Yield Business for Tour Operators
Source: NTA Photo: morguefile.com
"The desire to explore new agricultural techniques and technologies has become very popular in recent years," said Cathy Greteman of Star Destinations in Carroll, Iowa. "What the travelers love most is meeting farmers who are producing the same products they produce halfway around the world. They want to see firsthand what science is in the making, what equipment will soon be available, and what the future of agriculture will look like."

Greteman said her company typically works with international tour operators who specialize in agricultural travel, and together, they make sure the visit accomplishes the group's mission.

Those missions can vary, according to Richard Maxcy of Agri Travel Services in Denver, Colorado. "We've had wheat farmers from Australia looking at production facilities, a Pacific Rim group interested in forage-harvesting equipment, and beekeepers from the Netherlands," Maxcy said. "Groups come here because the western United States and Canada have such large operations, and they use the latest technology, equipment, and management techniques." 

As with any specialized market, agritourism travelers also spend time and money away from the targeted topic as they seek entertainment, dining, and souvenirs.

"They want to feel the soil and photograph the plants and the landscape, but they also love our people, our cities, and our shopping centers," Greteman said. "They leave knowing that, together with their brothers and sisters around the world, they are working toward the same end: feeding the world in the most efficient, productive manner."

In a recent survey, one quarter of NTA tour operators said they currently offer agritourism product. Operators said they anticipate significant increases in agritourism, along with culinary, faith-based, and adventure tourism. At this year's Travel Exchange, NTA members delved further into other specialized markets and travel, including family, adventure, and the U.S. Hispanic market. And in May, NTA inked a partnership agreement with the World Food Travel Association, enabling NTA members to package more food-and-drink tourism.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ask the Tour Operator: Trends in City Tours

Article link:

When Travel Weekly asked NTA HQ about trends in big-city tours, we asked members for insight. Jenifer Robertson, with About Tours in Chicago, had plenty to share on several aspects of urban tours. Her observations are valuable if you're in a metropolitan area-or anticipate that urban trends will spread outward.

How are tours changing in major U.S. cities?
Modality: "We have noticed a big increase in bike tours and running tours, and the JeniferRobertsonSegway tours have expanded to include gardens and architecture tours. Self-guided walking tours using a cell phone are also increasing."

Culinary: "More and more culinary tours are offered in Chicago: pizza tours, cupcake tours, chocolate tours, beer-tasting tours, pub crawls, etc.  I think all the cooking shows on TV have led to an interest in gourmet food. In Chicago, ethnic and neighborhood tours are becoming more popular, and we offer an ethnic dine-around with appetizers in Chinatown, entrĂ©e in Greektown and dessert in Little Italy."

Niche: "Baby boomers who don't like group tours often will go on niche tours that focus on their interests, whether it's architecture, art, culinary, biking, quilting, collecting, etc. We worked with a group that collected perfume bottles."

International: "We find that international visitors have done their research online and often know what they want to see and do before they arrive. Sometimes it's very specific-certain buildings, a special restaurant in Chicago. We have also noticed that international visitors continue to be fascinated by Al Capone, Michael Jordon and the Chicago Bulls, and jazz and the blues.".

Large Tour Firms Jump on Exotic Travel Trend (by Robin Amster/Travel Market Report)

Article by Robin Amster
Published by Travel Market Report

Large Tour Firms Jump on Exotic Travel Trend
A growing number of travelers are venturing far afield to exotic and remote destinations in search of once-in-a-lifetime vacations, prompting growing numbers of tour firms to expand in this direction.

While tour operators like Journeys International and G Adventures have long specialized in this type of travel – including adventure travel, ecotourism and “experiential” travel to exotic locales – larger tour operators are moving in.

The development has created more choices, and more decisions, for agents and their clients.

Agents will, of course, want to know if the specialist tour operator pays commission and many do, including Journeys International and G Adventures.

Once the commission question is answered, choosing between a smaller specialty firm and a larger tour op is a matter of assessing the different natures of each.

What specialty firms offer
“It’s not so much a question of taking people exclusively [to exotic destinations]; rather we take them differently,” said Will Weber, senior director and co-founder of Journeys International, a specialist in small group adventure travel and ecotourism.

Journeys International tailors its trips, “curating the experience to match the individual’s interest,” Weber said. “Many of our people tell us, ‘I don’t take group tours, but I know I can’t do this on my own.’”

“Our clients tend to have higher expectations in terms of gaining more in-depth knowledge from local guides and more opportunities for interactions on a personal basis.”

In contrast, the larger tour operators “tend to have a more generalized focus,” according to Weber.

The advantages of big
For Jeremy Palmer, Tauck Tours’ vice president/general manager, land division and new ventures, choosing between a specialist or larger tour operator, “is not an either/or. There are pros and cons to each.”

“If you’re going with someone who only goes to one place for 30 years, you would hope there’s a level of service that comes with that,” he said, adding: “I think we match that.

“But on the flip side, because we are so large, there are things clients can expect before and after the journey, not just while they are there,” Palmer said,

The tried and true
Traveling with a larger tour operator, especially to more remote destinations, provides travelers with a greater level of comfort, according to Steve Born, vice president of marketing for the Globus Family of Brands.

“We know these niche operators are perceived as specialists by agents, but they have to weigh that against more tried and true operators like us,” he said.

“A specialist operator may not have the range of product we offer and, with Globus, the different brands we have. It’s also more than likely the client will be more familiar with our brands, giving us more street cred.”

One advantage for agents is that bookings they make with Globus to exotic destinations contribute to their overall volume with the firm, whereas a booking with a specialist is likely to be a “one-off,” Born added.

Healthy competition
Overall, the increased competition in the exotic travel arena is desirable, said General Tours World Traveler president Bob Drumm.

“The competition is healthy, and it addresses the particular needs that travelers have,” Drumm said. Some companies focus on specific interests or activities, others on particular destinations and budgets.

“The U.S. has always had a very fragmented tour operator market, with operators offering tours all over the world,” he added.

Next time: Advice from tour operators on selling exotic destinations.

Related story
Tour Ops See Rising Demand for Exotic Destinations

Link to NTA Membership Directory 2013-2014

Want to view the NTA (National Tour Association) Membership Directory for 2013-2014?

Here it is: http://digitaleditions.walsworthprintgroup.com/publication?i=163657

Faith-based Travel Options: Ethiopia

Want to know more about faith-based travel to Ethiopia. 

Check out this brief interview with Viva Ethiopia Tour.....a ground and incoming operator specializing in trips throughout Ethiopia.

View article here: http://onlinedigitalpublishing.com/publication/?i=164460&p=14

Friday, June 21, 2013

China Travel Market Webinar (June 26)

On June 26, NTA will be hosting a webinar on "China Travel Market Insights." 

Participants will get key strategies for expanding into this market, which leads the world in travel spending. Scott Johnson of Travel Markets Insights will highlight 2012 data and discuss the forecast for inbound-U.S. travel. He'll also share key results from his latest China Travel Trade Barometer. NTA's Haybina Hao will show you how to work the market and how, as an NTA member, you can utilize her services to reach this growing market. 

For more details or to register for a webinar, follow this link. Or you can drop NTA HQ an email to get access information for next Wednesday's webinar.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tour Ops See Rising Demand for Exotic Destinations (by Robin Amster with Travel Market Report)

Author: Robin Amster
Published by: Travel Market Report
Tour Ops See Rising Demand for Exotic DestinationsThis is Part One of a series on exotic travel by Travel Market Report.

For tour operators large and small, demand for exotic destinations is on the upswing, fueled by growing client sophistication and vastly improved air accessibility and tourism infrastructure.

The Internet is also playing a part. Many consumers are tapping the vast amount of online information on unfamiliar and remote destinations – and then turning to tour operator programs and travel agents.

Both specialty firms and larger tour companies report rising demand.

“Exotic travel is one of our fastest-growing business lines,” said Jeremy Palmer, vice president/general manager, land division and new ventures, for Tauck Tours. “If you’ve done North America and Europe, it’s the natural next step.

“Americans are getting more comfortable going [to these destinations],” Palmer said. "Airfares and capacity are plentiful and the destinations are bucket list items.”

Drive for authenticity
Another factor: consumer hunger for genuine experiences.

“There’s a lot of drive for authenticity,” said General Tours World Traveler president Bob Drumm, who reported an increase in demand for exotic destinations.

Business is also up at Journeys International, a specialist in small group adventure travel and ecotourism, according to senior director and co-founder Will Weber.

Weber said the exotic travel trend has firmly taken hold because, “people are living longer, are healthier and are taking better care of themselves. We have clients who are long retired and travel is a logical thing for them. They’ve been to so many places they now want something different.”

Air accessibility, hotel quality and price are also less of an issue today, according to Weber.

“[The cost of] getting there hasn’t gone up so much relative to the cost of living, so it’s not as intimidating now as it was 10 or 15 years ago,” he said.

Seizing the opportunity
One larger tour firm that is jumping on the interest in travel to exotic destinations is Globus. The company views the trend as an opportunity to expand, according to Steve Born, vice president of marketing for the Globus Family of Brands, made up of Globus, Monograms, Cosmos and Avalon Waterways.

While the company’s clients, many of them baby boomers, may not take a tour to destinations in North America or Europe, they are seeking tours for less familiar destinations such as South America, Born said.

“There’s a hesitation that they may not quite get all they can on their own,” he said. “That opens up a whole new opportunity for a company like us. As these destinations continue to grow in popularity, a bigger portion of travel there will be by tour operators instead of FITs.”

Showing expertise
The growth of interest in travel to remote destinations is a welcome trend for tour operators and travel agents alike — providing both with a wider market and more options to sell.

It also gives travel companies a compelling opportunity to demonstrate their expertise in the face of online booking.

“All of us in the travel industry are doing things differently because we know people can go online, do the research and book hotels,” said Jackie Garrity, product innovation manager for Toronto-based G Adventures, which offers small group adventures, safaris and expeditions.

“But when you talk about remote places, it’s still difficult for people to do that on their own,” she said.

Next time by Travel Market Report: Larger tour operators are moving into an area once dominated by smaller specialty companies, giving agents and their clients more choice, and more decisions.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Faith Profile: Mike Schields (by Going on Faith)

Article link: http://www.goingonfaith.com/Article.aspx?id=460&p=0

Published by Going on Faith

Courtesy Mike Schields/Globus

It’s as if Mike Schields was destined to work in travel.

Today, Schields is one of the most influential team members at Globus, where he serves as managing director of groups and emerging markets. But his love of the tourism industry stretches back to his childhood.

“My father was an airline executive for TWA for 35 years,” he said. “When I was young, I remember always reading his Travel Weekly and airline magazines. I always knew that I loved travel and tourism.”

That early inspiration has propelled Schields through a career that has taken him to various sectors of the travel industry and to some of the most fascinating places on earth. Now, he brings those experiences to work in helping to create new ideas in faith-based tourism and other initiatives for Globus.

An Exciting Career

Following his childhood dreams, Schields went to work in the travel industry immediately after finishing college in California. He began with a travel agency and then moved to a sales position for a cruise line that eventually became Celebrity Cruises.

“I parlayed that into a 12-year career,” he said. “I had a blast, and the industry was on a real growth curve. I had a lot of fun and was primarily in sales and sales management.”

The time at Celebrity was also a fruitful period for Schields: In addition to honing his sales skills and exploring the world, he met the woman who would later become his wife while representing the cruise line at a trade show.

From there, Schields spent some time working for an online travel company and then switched to the land side of the business to work for tour operator Far and Wide.

“Unfortunately, they were ultimately doomed to fail,” he said. “But I learned a lot about groups, group travel and group marketing there.”

A Decade at Globus
The combination of a cruise background and tour operator experience made Schields the ideal candidate for a job at Globus, where he started in 2003 as director of group sales. The company also tapped him to manage the fledgling Avalon Waterways, a river cruise operation it was launching in Europe.

“I was the managing director of Avalon Waterways in its infancy,” he said. “We only had one ship, and we code-shared with another ship; so I say we really had a ship and a half. I was involved in the start-up phase of that, and now we have 15 ships. Once the brand started to take hold, we hired our existing cruise director.”

During that same time, Schields began to notice the work of Kevin Wright, then a product manager at Globus. Wright had written books about religious travel and was passionately promoting the cause of faith-based tourism. Schields saw it as a natural fit for the company.

“We had been doing this kind of travel for 50 years but never formalized it,” he said. “We quickly got approval to create the religious division, and the rest is history.”

The religious travel division has grown, both in scope and in volume. The company now operates faith-based tours throughout Europe and the lands of the Bible, and has added its value brand, Cosmos, to the portfolio of religious travel options. Schields said that today, faith-based travel represents about 5 percent of the company’s overall business.

Schields also helped pioneer a give-back program in the religious division through which churches can raise up to $1,000 from tours in addition to regular commissions.

“I’d like to see that idea catch on more,” he said. “An extra $1,000 can be great for a church. You’d have to sell a lot of Krispy Kreme doughnuts to make that happen.”

Rewarding Experiences Among the perks of a career in tourism is the chance to travel the world, and Schields recounts numerous memorable experiences, such as cruising in Europe and seeing the ruins at Machu Picchu in Peru. But the lands of the Bible hold a special significance.

“One of the pinnacles for me was visiting the Holy Land,” he said. “Even taking the religious side out of it, I thought it was a great place to visit, with a lot of history, food and culture. I was really shocked by how safe and secure it is — you have Christians and Muslims living together in peace. It was really eye-opening. You have to go into it with an open mind and an open heart.”

Schields aspires to visit places such as Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa, as well as the beaches of Normandy, once his teenage daughters leave for college. Until then, his mission is to inspire churches with the same love of travel that he found as a child.

“I’d like to help more churches to see how travel brings the community to closer together,” he said. “You don’t understand it until you actually do it. I want to find a way to get more churches to embark on a travel ministry.”

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

2013 Luther500 Festival starts in Wittenberg

Media Release
During the week of June 17 to 23 participants from the U.S., Canada, Sweden, and Germany will gather in Wittenberg Germany, for the Luther500 Festival where for one week they will follow the steps of the Reformation in the town where Martin Luther lived and worked.  The multi-faceted Festival is both pilgrimage and play, both service and celebration.

The travel portal www.smartertravel.com calls the Luther500 Festival  one of the ten "Hottest Summer Festivals and Events" in the World.

Festival goers will choose between different program options and activities in and around Wittenberg. Creative activities are offered in addition to the sightseeing walks and museums visits. Participants can model a Luther rose from clay, attend a painting workshop and make music. There is canoeing on the Elbe River, and bicycle riding through towns and on German bicycle routes.  Day trips to Wartburg castle and Erfurt, Leipzig and Eisleben, as well as to Berlin are part of the program.

As with the first festival in 2011, the "program and interest centers do not happen in lecture halls but in historic sites, in the churches and homes, squares of Wittenberg, and other important Luther-related locations where Reformation events took place in the 16th Century," according to Michael Bridges of the Los Angeles-based band LOST AND FOUND, an organizer of the Festival. Service projects like cleaning the local cemetery, planting the Luther garden, and serving both the Catholic and the Protestant pre-schools will allow participants to impact and interact with the local community. 

Morning Prayers for the Luther500 festival will be hosted by the Catholic congregation in Wittenberg, and Evening Prayers are in the town church. The Augustinian monastery of Erfurt, the church where Martin Luther was baptized in Eisleben, and the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Memorial Church in Berlin will also host Evening Prayers for the Festival.

 The public is welcome for a concert on Saturday evening in the Wittenberg convention center. Alathea, Lost And Found, Rachel Kurtz and Tangled Blue will perform. Smaller concerts are also planned during the week in village churches throughout the area. "In connecting the festival with the churches and villages in the Wittenberg area, we want to bring encouragement and appreciation to local residents, showing them that the 'Lutherdecade' is not just a tourism event", says Christian Utpatel of Terra Lu Travel, another Festival organizer.  He adds, "After the flood that recently damaged many German towns including Wittenberg, we hope this encouragement is especially meaningful and important."


The Luther500 Festival is presented by the U.S. music group Lost And Found.

The German organizer is Terra Lu Travel & Consult, specialist for Reformation travel, consulting, and the developing of events. Terra Lu is the author of Wittenberg county's marketing concept for the LutherDecade.

For 2014 Terra Lu organizes the Refo500 Train, a chartered train which will connect the European Reformation cities.

With 3+ Million Newsletter subscribers and more than 1 Million visitors per Month, smartertravel.com is one of the largest online travel resources. They include the Luther500 Festival into the ten "Hottest Summer Festivals and Events of 2013", beside America's Cup, Queen Elizabeth's coronation Festival, and the Aichi Triennale Japan.

 Mehr Info about the Festival at http://www.Luther500.com 


The Luther500 Festival is made by LOST AND FOUND (www.speedwood.com) and Terra Lu Travel (www.Terra-Lu-Travel.com) The Luther500 Festival is a recognized event of the Luther-Decade and the Refo500 foundation.

Germany Office:
The Luther500 Festival
c/o Terra Lu Travel
Rev. Christian Utpatel
Pfarrstrasse 18  |  34576 Homberg, Germany
phone +49 5681 84 88 81 | fax +49 5681 84 88 82


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Future Travel and Hospitality Professionals: Tourism Cares Announces Scholarship Recipients

Tourism Cares announced $70,500 in academic scholarships awarded to 55 students throughout the United States and Canada. Of these scholarships, 29 were funded by NTA members. They are awarded each year to students pursuing both undergraduate and graduate degrees in travel, tourism, and hospitality at accredited colleges and universities. 

Scholarship recipients are invited to attend the Tourism Cares Mentoring Program at Travel Exchange in Los Angeles, Feb. 16–20, 2014. The program allows students to shadow professional mentors, build their professional network and attend industry workshops

"Tourism Cares is dedicated to building a strong workforce for the travel, tourism and hospitality industries," said Bruce Beckham, executive director of Tourism Cares. "I congratulate the 55 recipients, and I feel confident our student programs will help cultivate their potential as future leaders of the industry."

"NTA believes that generating a strong workforce for the tourism industry begins with supporting students who are completing their educational goals in travel and tourism fields," said Lisa Simon, CTP, NTA president. "We have a valued heritage of providing scholarships, internships and student mentoring, and NTA is proud to be an active participant of the Tourism Cares student programs."
Here is a list of the students receiving scholarships established by NTA members:

 NTA Scholarship
Student Name 
 North America Scholarship Kayode Aleshinloye Texas A & M University
 North America Scholarship Leanza Altenderfer University of Central Florida
 Travel Leaders Scholarship Kelly Baptist Florida International University
 Massachusetts Scholarship Janelle Bloom Univ. of Massachusetts Amherst
 North America Scholarship Leesha Borman Missouri State University
 New York Scholarship Christine Brumfield Niagara University
 North America Scholarship Bethany Dickert Pennsylvania State University
 Rene Campbell-Ruth McKinney E'Lisha Fogle University of Northern Texas
 Pat & Jim Host Scholarship Dylan Gordon Western Kentucky University
 Eric Friedheim Scholarship Samantha Hogenson George Washington University
 North America Scholarship Seamus Hogg George Washington University
 North America Scholarship Kerstin Hudon University of South Carolina
 North America Scholarship Nicole Hugo Arizona State University
 New Horizons-Kathy LeTarte Jamie Levitt Johnson & Wales University
 New Jersey Scholarship Amanda Marshall Johnson & Wales University
 Travel Leaders Scholarship Jose Melenez Roman George Washington University
 North America Scholarship Samantha Murphy Indiana University
 Ohio Scholarship Melissa Meyers Ohio State University
 La Macchia Family Scholarship Elizabeth Neeck University of Wisconsin-Stout
 North America Scholarship Hope Paccione Clemson University
 Dr. Tom Anderson Scholarship Matteo Provasnik New York University
 Canada Scholarship Jasveen Rattan University of Waterloo
 Luray Caverns Scholarship Christopher Serenari North Carolina State University
 North America Scholarship Nicole Stone Arizona State University
 North America Scholarship Mallory Taylor Virginia Tech
 Florida Scholarship Michelle Tepper University of South Florida
 North America Scholarship Joshua Thurmes Black Hills State University
 North America Scholarship Michael Willemsen Niagara College of Canada
 North America Scholarship Paige Wuensch Florida International University

For specific information on all scholarship recipients and their educational institutions, follow this link.

How are motorcoach companies dealing with tour operators with smaller groups?

Article link: http://www.ntaonline.com/articles/index.cfm?action=view&articleID=2640&menuID=791#Headline2

Ask the Tour Operator - Motorcoach Sizes
A discussion about smaller group sizes, featured in last week's Tuesday, prompted tour operator Paul Nakamoto of Gray Line of San Francisco, San Jose & Monterey/Super Sightseeing to provide insight from another perspective: the size of the motorcoach.

"Almost every coach company in San Francisco is swapping out its fleet for the 38- or 41-seat Temsa Coach, manufactured in Turkey," Nakamoto said. "Our company PaulsMotorcoachhas acquired three this year with hopes to secure two more. I first saw them at Travel Exchange and even drove one in the convention center parking lot. It's a mid-sized coach with full-sized coach luxury.

"This coach is more economical because it has two axels versus three, and the fuel mileage is unbelievable. We charge considerably less for a mid-sized coach than a full-sized coach, and this coach is a great over-the-road vehicle.

"Almost every coach company in San Francisco is using the Temsa because we can take it into Muir Woods. And this coach is legal to drive down Hwy. 1 through Big Sur because it's only 35 feet in length versus a standard 45-foot coach."

So, how are motorcoach companies dealing with tour operators with smaller groups? "They're operating smaller coaches at a lesser rate." 

Barbados is getting into religious tourism

Barbados Tourism minister's new plans for religion and tourism....

Article link: http://www.eturbonews.com/35412/barbados-getting-religious-tourism

Barbados’ acting minister of tourism and international transport, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, says the country needs to go after the faith-based tourism market more aggressively and use its deep spiritual foundation to cash in on this multi-million dollar industry.

Sandiford-Garner said the concept that religious travel being centred on the notion of taking a pilgrimage was no more and, therefore, the market was much larger and more segmented with niches ranging from high-end religious travel, volunteer-oriented religious travel to modern-day pilgrimage. She said government had a great deal to offer faith-based guests and pledged its support of any initiative that would build up this tourism niche.

Meanwhile, the Caribbean field director for the New Testament Church of God and the Bishop for Tortola, Ishmael Charles, said the church's Caribbean Assembly event in November would attract more than 3,000 believers from around the world. Charles said Barbados was chosen as the venue because it is accessible to travellers especially from North America and the United Kingdom, who would not have to take multiple flights to get there.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Women in Travel: Entrepreneurial Mindset Is Key (by Maria Lenhart/Travel Market Report)

Article link: http://www.travelmarketreport.com/content/publiccontent.aspx?pageid=1364&articleid=8417

Author: Maria Lenhart
Published by: Travel Market Report

Women in Travel: Entrepreneurial Mindset Is Key
If you’re a woman who owns a travel agency, or who would like to start her own agency or other travel-related business, you’re in good company.

Women-owned enterprises have grown in number by 54% over the past 15 years. Today, women-owned businesses comprise the fastest-growing segment of all U.S. small businesses, according to The State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, a 2012 study by American Express OPEN.

In fact, women now own 29% of all U.S. businesses, generating some $1.3 trillion in revenue each year, the report states.

Travel Market Report asked Susan Duffy of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership at Babson College to discuss the trends and to share her advice for entrepreneurs. Duffy is executive director of the center, which offers educational programs and counseling in entrepreneurial skills and best practices.

What do you advise women students who are starting out in business?
Duffy: We help women build their competencies and comfort level. Women tend to want to have everything figured out before they make a move. Men are more likely to jump in. We counsel women that they are just as ready, but that they may need to take things at a more calculated pace.

Also, we emphasize that entrepreneurship isn’t just about creating your own business. If you work in a large travel agency or other type of company, you can still bring entrepreneurial skills to the table that will help you succeed.

Why are women so entrepreneurial?
Duffy: One of the big things that attracts women to entrepreneurial pursuits is flexibility. They can design the institutional structure differently. As long as I get the job done, even if it’s after the kids are in bed, I can do it on my terms.

Do women have different business objectives than men, particularly when starting their own companies?
Duffy: Women, in particular, are passionate about wanting to create value in the world. They want to change the world. They know they can use entrepreneurial ventures to do that.

Women are starting socially conscious ventures at higher levels than men. Women want to make money but also to do good. So they find ways to create a triple bottom line that’s good for the environment, society and making money.

Do women still have a ways to go to achieve equality as entrepreneurs?
Duffy: Women are still not getting the venture capital they should – they are not as successful in this as men are. However, there are more resources for women now – more associations and groups that are supporting them professionally.

There is momentum. The more we have successful women entrepreneurs, the more it will keep growing. The message goes out to the next generation that if she can do it, I can do it too.

You work with college students. How might the attitudes of younger people change things?
Duffy: Younger people are not looking at things in terms of women’s issues, but as people’s issues. They are much less inclined to look at gender.

Related stories
Part one: CEOs in Travel: Where Are the Women?
Part two: Women in Travel: Agency Leaders Who Pushed the Boundaries
Part three: Women in Travel: How to Get More Money & Power at Work

Friday, June 7, 2013

International Journal of Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage (Debut Announcement)

I am very honored to serve as an Industry Advisor on the Editorial Board of the following new publication: International Journal of Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage. Below is the inaugural announcement of the online journal- Kevin J. Wright

We are delighted to announce that the International Journal of Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage is now LIVE at http://arrow.dit.ie/ijrtp
This is a high-quality, online, international, free, open access, double blind reviewed publication which deals with all aspects of Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage.
We have a highly prestigious Editorial Board in place for this timely publication and feel it has enormous potential to explore emerging debates and theories in this interesting area of academic discourse.  We feel that the use of a professional, online platform which democratically allows free access to all of our published papers is the responsible way to disseminate our materials.
The journal takes an interdisciplinary, international approach and includes all aspects of Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage. It is inclusive of all denominations, religions, faiths and spiritual practices. The journal's online platform facilitates a truly integrative approach. While the main emphasis is on primary research articles, it also welcomes suitably relevant discussion papers, research / review pieces, industry focused case studies and evaluations, management guides and reports, economic evaluations, book reviews, announcements of forthcoming meetings etc. Papers / articles should be relevant to both academics and practitioners
Papers can include a variety of media elements including audio and visual files, a range of image formats and hyperlinks to websites and other online resources.
At the moment the website can receive submissions and the ‘behind the scenes’ software for reviewing is almost finished, there are some edits being finalized and some updating to be done, but we are open for business.
Please visit the site, feel free to contact us for further details and broadcast far and wide.
Kevin Griffin, Dublin Institute of Technology
Raj Razaq, Leeds Metropolitan University
Book Review Editor
Carlos Fernandes, Polytechnic of Viana do Catelo, Portugal

New religious Korea tour

Article link: http://www.grouptravelleader.com/Article.aspx?id=1267

SALEM, Ohio — HanaTour, Korea’s largest tour company for both inbound and outbound travel, has introduced a Korea Christianity Heritage Tour for religious travel groups.

Christianity in South Korea dates back to the early 17th century when Catholicism was first introduced by Korean diplomats returning home from their posts. By 1991, 44 percent of the religious population was Christian.

During this eight-day, six-night tour, visitors will see how Koreans have incorporated ancestral traditions with Christian practices to make the faith their own.

“I had the pleasure of meeting with John Park of Hanna Tour, who explained that they make sure to include examples of such traditions in their tours and that groups find the cultural differences of great interest.” said Charlie Presley of The Group Travel Family.

Some of the tour highlights include: Moon Jun Kyung Missionary Martyrdom, Jeungdo Church on Jeungdo Island in Gwangju, Clement Carrington Owen’s monument and gravesite, Woo Wool Soon Missionary’s Home, Christian Martyr Memorial Hall in Yongin and points of interest in Seoul.

For more information contact HanaTour manager John Park 213-736-1212 or john@usahanatour.net, or Kevin Streit of Kevin Streit and Associates at 702-990-3684 or kstreit@consultksa.com.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Girlfriend Getaways Are a Hot Niche for Enterprising Agents (by Judy Jacobs/Travel Market Report)

Article link:

Author: Judy Jacobs
Published by: Travel Market Report

Opening excerpt:

Women-only travel sparks more interest than almost any other travel niche, according to agents who have made it a specialty.

NTA and World Food Travel Association Enter into Partnership

Article link: http://www.ftnnews.com/tours/21153-nta-wfta-form-perfect-blend-of-professionals.html

NTA and the World Food Travel Association have signed a partnership agreement that brings together the WFTA’s global food tourism community with NTA’s packaged travel resources and membership.

WFTA executive director Erik Wolf and Lisa Simon, president of NTA, signed an agreement detailing how the new partners will establish a presence at each other’s annual trade shows and collaborate on member education initiatives and advocacy efforts. It’s a great pairing, said both leaders.

“We’re excited to be working with NTA,” Wolf said. “The food tourism industry has needed a better way to reach potential customers through packaging, and NTA’s members provide that support to WFTA. At the same time, WFTA provides NTA’s members with professional resources to plan and package food and drink as tourism products.”

“It’s the perfect blend. By partnering with WFTA, NTA members can connect with new business partners and trends in a market that continues to rise,” said Simon. “So much of the travel experience is wrapped around eating and drinking, and food travelers are always in search of new destinations and flavors.”

In a recent survey, 61 percent of NTA tour operators said they expect to increase the amount of business they conduct surrounding food and drink tourism, making it the highest-targeted specialty market. The WFTA’s research shows that American foodies, while traveling, spend almost $100,000 per minute every hour of the day on food and drink, which are the only tourism products that visitors purchase three times per day.

NTA and WFTA will promote membership in each other’s organization and encourage their members to each other’s signature conferences: NTA’s Travel Exchange 2014, Feb. 16-20 in Los Angeles, and WFTA’s World Food Travel Summit, Sept. 21-24, in Gothenburg, Sweden. To see a video interview of Eric Wolf at Travel Exchange 2013, follow this link.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

(Linkedin) Faith-based Tourism Network Group

How can you join the NTA Faith-based Tourism Network Group on LinkedIn?

Here's the link:

How are Tour Operators Dealing with Smaller Group Sizes?

Article link: http://www.ntaonline.com/articles/index.cfm?action=view&articleID=2633&menuID=791#Headline1

During a recent Virtual Conversation with the NTA Chairman (Mark Hoffmann), Yakov Stevens of Tripsetter in Toronto asked how tour operators are dealing with smaller group sizes. BusAislePassengers"We're obviously not doubling our prices," he said. "How are people making up for that difference?"

Mark Hoffmann, the session's host, replied, "In my company, we're basing our profit/loss number on a lower number of people, which raises the hard cost per person," he said, adding that customers are telling him they prefer traveling in a smaller group. Hoffmann then asked how other operators are filling groups, and Larry Larsen of Ed-Ventures in Minnesota replied.

"We encourage partnering. To fill the group, you may have to put two groups together," Larsen said. "There was a time when that didn't fly, because nobody trusted anybody else. But I think we're at a point where we have to trust with other people and work together to keep the price down in order to fill the group."

Larsen said his company sells to many other operators and travel agents, which enables them to create partnerships when he learns that two clients are working on a tour to the same destination. "We try to get them to work together and get an itinerary that works for both of them," he said. "It's reaching out through the home-based agents; we're just starting to do that. That's a good opening to get into partnering as well."

United States to Create a National Travel and Tourism Office

As my blog is all about promoting growth markets in tourism, this is a very exciting story from NTA...

Article link: http://www.ntaonline.com/articles/index.cfm?action=view&articleID=2633&menuID=791#Headline4

United States to Create a National Travel and Tourism Office

As longtime advocates for an increased federal focus on travel and tourism, NTA applauds approval of a National Travel and Tourism Office, which was a recommendation included in the 2012 National Travel and Tourism Strategy. The creation of the office, resulting from a consolidation and reorganization of the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, is expected to be operational by Oct. 1.

Carlos Montoulieu, acting deputy assistant secretary for Services Industries, ITA, U.S. DOC, shared the news today with industry leaders during a conference call, during which he also asked for feedback during the implementation period.

"With this news, travel and tourism continues to win," said NTA President Lisa Simon, CTP, who participated in today's call. "This is significant for every player in the industry—and for the U.S. and world economies."
Simon also credited the Obama administration and both the House and Senate travel and tourism caucuses for continuing to elevate tourism.

"This is the best it's ever been," she remarked about the support travel and tourism is receiving at a national level. "For many years NTA has called for and actively advocated for an executive travel and tourism office. With the elevated focus that our industry will now receive, complemented by the good work of Brand USA and everyone in the field, it bodes so well for the future."

During the call, Montoulieu said this transition to a National Travel and Tourism Office was a "bump up." The head of this office would report directly to the assistant secretary for Industry and Analysis, rather than reporting to the deputy assistant secretary for Service Industries, which is the current structure.

The ITA is undergoing the consolidation to enhance connectivity with the industry, to improve effectiveness and as a cost savings which will be redirected to priority programs. ITA will be transitioned from four to three business units (regions, industries and enforcement/compliance). The National Travel and Tourism Office will fall under the newly created Industry and Analysis unit.
Many people in the industry are familiar with the work of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Services and the Office and Travel and Tourism Industries. Montoulieu said budgetary discussion related to OTTI would occur and that the work of Commercial Service would in fact see an increase.

Also, ITA's mission would remain the same with a focus "to create prosperity by strengthening the international competitiveness of U.S. industry, promoting trade and investment, and ensuring fair trade and compliance with trade laws and agreements."

Speakers Confirmed for China Travel Market Forum (Hawaii)

NTA's second-annual China Market Forum is one of the highlights of Contact this August 15–17, on Hawai‘i, the Big Island. The forum will build on last year's important discussions and will include this lineup of speakers: 
  • Tony Ong, vice president and chief information officer of Beijing Hua Yuan International Travel Service, has served the organization in its Hong Kong, Switzerland, Paris and Beijing offices. Beijing Hua Yuan International Travel, established in 1985, is the largest wholesaler for the China outbound market. Ong's accomplishments there include overseeing travel business development and the formation of online operations, developing a supplier's network, and handling government groups and corporate MICE groups. He will be one of the panelists for Ask the Top China Operators and Packaging Travel for the Chinese Traveler.

  • Skylar Jiang H.Y. is the assistant general manager of CYTS (China Youth Travel Service) Group China, one of the largest travel companies in China, with revenue in 2012 exceeding US$1.6 billion. It is the only publically listed travel service company in the country. Jiang has 11 years of experience in outbound tourism from China and is a well-known host for many Chinese TV and radio tourism programs. Jiang will also be one of the panelists for Ask the

Top China Operators.
  • Mark (Liang) Wang is the deputy general manager of inbound tours and general manager of the America & Pacific department for the China Travel Service, a company with more than 64 years of history. Wang majored in tourism at Beijing Institute of Tourism and began his career as a tour guide. Mark has been working for CTS for more than 10 years; he has gained rich knowledge of the Western and Chinese mentalities, bridging the gap between the two cultures. Mark will be one of the featured panelists for Ask the Top China Operators.

  • Isabel Hill serves as director of the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries at the U.S. Dept. of Commerce. Hill and her team work to promote policies that foster the competitiveness of U.S. travel and tourism industries, in collaboration with the private sector and federal agencies. She leads the United States team of the China-U.S. Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade Tourism Working Group. Hill is a familiar face to many NTA members, having served on a panel of North American tourism leaders at the 2011 convention in Las Vegas. Isabel is the speaker for the Market Overview seminar.
  • A fourth speaker is Judy Zhou, a journalist with Travel Weekly China, based in Beijing. She will also serve as a panelist.

These experts will be able to answer all your questions about how to best meet the needs of both the Chinese traveler and operator. Visit the China Market Forum page on the Contact website to read more about them and the seminars they are featured in! 

Tour operators, don't miss this great educational opportunity; register for Contact '13 and be sure to check out the full descriptions of each seminar here.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Advice from Agritourism Experts

Article link: http://www.ntaonline.com/articles/index.cfm?action=view&articleID=2633&menuID=791

Member Voices: Greteman and Maxcy on Agritourism 
The June Courier includes an article about agritourism, in which Cathy Greteman of Star Destinations said the market is expanding.

"What the travelers love most is meeting farmers who are producing the sameCathyGreteman13 products they produce halfway around the world," Greteman said. "They want to see firsthand what science is in the making, what equipment will soon be available, and what the future of agriculture will look like."

Greteman said her company typically works with international tour operators who specialize in agricultural travel, and together, they make sure the visit accomplishes the group's mission.

Those missions can vary, according to Richard Maxcy of Agri Travel Services. "We've had wheat farmers from Australia looking at production facilities, a Pacific Rim group interested in forage-harvesting equipment, and bee-keepers from the Netherlands," Maxcy said. "Groups come here because the western United States and Canada have such large operations and use the latest technology, equipment and management techniques."

Greteman added that, as with any specialized market, agritourism travelers also spend time and money outside of the targeted topic as they seek entertainment, dining and souvenirs.

Ruth Hill's Faith Travel Focus: A Must-Have Website Resource

A must-have website resource for those involved or interested in faith-based travel is Ruth Hill's Faith Travel Focus.

Veteran faith traveler and writer Ruth A. Hill is at the helm of the Faith Travel Focus project. She has written about the pleasures and business of travel for newspapers, magazines and trade publications for 25 years, and has membership in the Society of American Travel Writers.

Faith Travel Focus
Faith-based travelers as well as travel professionals come here to be inspired, educated, and informed with features, news and multimedia resources.