Registration for tour operator companies is pacing ahead of Travel Exchange '13, and this year NTA is welcoming a new type of buyer to the event: For the first time, the association is inviting travel agents to meet with tour operators and destination representatives.
"We know that having more buyers attracts more sellers, so the addition of travel agents—plus more operators—will make for a more robust business environment in L.A.," said NTA Chairman and CEO Mark Hoffmann, CTP. "We can expect a West Coast windfall for our members at Travel Exchange."
Along with Travel Exchange's business appointments, delegates can profit from the event's educational focus on niche markets. NTA will again host its popular leadership forums, where experts and members share strategies for specific travel types: adventure, faith and family travel. In education seminars, members will gain insights about markets that include China, Canada, sports travel, LGBT and agritourism, along with business strategies for marketing, media and management. Additional education is available to NTA members through sessions offered by UMA.
The first combined show for NTA and UMA was in January in Orlando, Fla. Along with adding even more buyers to Travel Exchange, UMA also attracts suppliers whose products and services engage members of both associations. And attendees can expect to see more suppliers at Travel Exchange '14, according to Victor Parra, UMA president and CEO.
"We can't believe how many first-time suppliers we will have in L.A., where exhibit space is about 90 percent sold out already," Parra said. "It's a nice feeling to know that word of the great show we had in Orlando has gotten around, and so many new suppliers want to be with us in 2014."
NTA and UMA will share the show floor, allowing buyers and sellers from both associations to make new connections and generate new partnerships. Delegates can also connect during luncheons, social events and sightseeing excursions. It's a productive environment for business, said Hoffmann.
"I won't say it's the perfect storm, because we're getting together in sunny Los Angeles," Hoffmann said. "But it's an ideal gathering of people, product and opportunities."