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

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Mexico Launches New Program to Boost Religious Tourism

Click here to read full story.

Opening excerpt:With the Road to Guadalupe, Bastions of Catholicism and Paths of Faith, Mexico City is giving a further boost to religious tourism in the country’s capital.

During the presentation of promotional material for the Religious Tourism Programme, Secretary of Tourism, Miguel Torruco Marqués, said that this move will improve the programme’s reach and positioning in the market that is being targeted.

Read more at 

Thursday, December 4, 2014


by Mimi Kmet with Travel Market Report

Click here to full read story.

Opening excerpt:

Solo travel has seen steady growth for many years and now suppliers are taking note. They’re also re-examining their policies on the single supplement that so many solo travelers consider unfair.

Suppliers report varying growth rates in this market, from moderate to explosive. From 2011 to 2014, for example, SITA World Tours’ solo traveler bookings increased by nearly 64%, generating an increase of more than 90% in sales, the company said.

Most suppliers told Travel Market Report the number of solo travelers will continue to increase.

And they are already preparing for the uptick.

Click here to read rest of story.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Opportunities exist in growing Canadian sports tourism market

By Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com

Opening excerpt:
Sport tourism had a $5.2 billion impact in Canada in 2012. That was a 5.3 per cent increase over 2011.
Grant MacDonald, the past president of the Canadian Sports Tourism Alliance, told a group of sports marketers and city officials in Thunder Bay on Thursday that there are more than 200,000 events to bid on each year in this country.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Faith Travel Webinar

Click here to listen to our recent FTA Faith Travel Webinar featuring Joanna Dyer of Globus family of brands and Susie Gilbreath of Travel Experts.

Click here to listen and watch Faith Travel Webinar.

For more info visit:

Also click here to view NTA Faith Travel Market Guide.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

New Visa Policy a ‘Turbo Boost’ for China Visits

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2014) — The recent agreement between the United States and China to extend the validity period for visas will elevate U.S. tourism—and the revenue and jobs the tourism industry generates—say leaders of the National Tour Association. The agreement, announced Nov. 10, lengthens the validity of tourist and business visas from one year to 10.

NTA, which pioneered group leisure travel from China into the United States, had advocated for the extension, the longest possible under U.S. law.

“With this change, Chinese travelers can now make repeat visits to the U.S. without going through the visa process again,” said Pam Inman, NTA president. “For many Chinese citizens, the United States is their dream destination, and any move to make travel here easier will lead to more visits.”

The visa extension is the latest in a series of steps the U.S. Department of Commerce has taken in the last few years to facilitate travel from China into the United States, including shortening the period of time it takes for Chinese citizens to obtain a visa. The visa extension is another giant step forward, according to Harry Chen, a tour operator in Millbrae, Calif., and a member of the NTA Board of Directors.

“This adds a turbo boost to the already growing demand of inbound groups from China,” Chen said. “Many of our tour group members from China had talked about how they love the experience of visiting the U.S. but weren't sure if they would go through the process of applying for the visa again. Now they can more easily come here to explore the vast amounts of beauty America has to offer.”

For years, gateway cities such as New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco have served as primary destinations that Chinese visitors focused on when the possibility of a return trip seemed remote. Now, with second and third visits more likely, tourists can expand their U.S. horizons, Inman said.

“We’ve heard from tour companies that Chinese travelers want to experience more of the United States,” Inman said. “The longer visa validity allows them to look beyond the gateways. It’s sure to benefit smaller cities and the nation’s heartland.”

China now ranks seventh in the number of annual visitors to the United States, having set records in 2013 for both arrivals (1.8 million) and spending ($21 billion). The China market alone supports more than 100,000 U.S. jobs. China is the fastest-growing source of travel into the United States, increasing from 320,000 visitors in 2006 to a projected 4.3 million in 2018.

According to Chen, who participates in NTA’s China Inbound Program, efforts to attract Chinese travelers to the United States have been hampered in the past by the visa application process in China, which can involve traveling to a city with a U.S. consulate and enduring an anxious waiting period, all for a one-year visa.

“A U.S.A. vacation might have been on their bucket list, but it was easier to obtain a visa for destinations in Europe, Asia or Africa,” he said. “The 10-year visa will give them a greater incentive for traveling to the United States.”

NTA’s work with the Chinese market through its China Inbound Program began in 2008, when the governments of both countries signed a memorandum of understanding opening group leisure travel from China to the United States. NTA was designated to maintain a list of U.S. tour operators registered to handle those groups.

About the National Tour Association: Founded in 1951, NTA is the leading business-building association for travel professionals interested in the North American market—inbound, outbound and within the continent. Its annual convention, Travel Exchange, will take place at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Jan. 18–22. For more information, visit NTAonline.com.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

McIlhenny Company President & CEO to spice up Travel Exchange '15 Opening Ceremony

McIlhenny Company President & CEO to spice up Travel Exchange '15 Opening Ceremony

Anthony "Tony" Simmons, President and CEO of McIlhenny Company, will be the keynote speaker for Monday's Opening Ceremony & Breakfast. The Avery Island, Louisiana-based company is best known for its popular Tabasco Original Red Pepper Sauce. Simmons is the great-great-grandson of Edmund McIlhenny, who created the iconic condiment, and he is the seventh member of the family o lead the company since its founding in the 1860s.

In his presentation, you will see how Simmons' passion for the family-owned business brings special meaning to his work. He will share stories from five generations of making Tabasco and discuss the company's and family's Avery Island home, located a few hours west of New Orleans. He will discuss his thoughts on laying the foundations of success for future generations and adaptation for the global marketplace. You will learn how the company has grown to international prominence-capable of producing more than 700,000 bottles of its famous sauce each day-and has expanded into more than 180 countries and territories.

Simmons joined McIlhenny Company as Executive Vice President in 2000. He was promoted to President in 2012 and has served as CEO since 2013. He is also the President and Director of Avery Island Inc. and serves on the board of the America's Wetlands Foundation. Prior to joining McIlhenny Company, Simmons spent 25 years with Manitowoc Cranes. He holds a degree in speech from Loyola University.

The Jan. 19 event is sponsored by Canada Partners, and breakfast will include pancakes with maple syrup, scrambled eggs, Canadian bacon and more.

Update on the Greater China Travel Markets to the United States

The U.S. Department of Commerce, National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO), the U.S. Commercial Service Travel & Tourism Team, and Brand USA are pleased to present a webinar on the fastest-growing top-ten tourism market to America: China. The program will include an overview of Hong Kong and a special insight into Taiwan, one of only four visa-waiver countries in Asia and a market with both high income and high growth rates. The webinar will take place on Thursday, December 4, 2014 beginning at 7:00 p.m. EST (4:00p.m. PST).
China generated 1.8 million arrivals in 2013, setting a new record for arrivals to the United States for the seventh consecutive year. China now ranks 7th in visitors to the United States. Spending by Chinese visitors to and within the United States was a record $21 billion in 2013. The webinar is extremely timely on the heels of the recent White House Announcement to extend visa validity for Chinese business and tourism visas to 10 years and for students to 5 years. To see the White House announcement go to: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/11/10/fact-sheet-supporting-american-job-growth-and-strengthening-ties-extendi

With the increasing number of visitors from this market, it is changing rapidly. In 2013, 45% of Chinese visitors were here for the first time. Another change is even though they stay more than 30 nights in the country, gone are the days of visiting two or more states or cities. In 2013, 61% of the Chinese visited only one state. That is the highest share ever of travelers staying put. A similar increase was tracked for cities. How are these and other shifts by Chinese visitors to the country changing their visitation patterns and what do these changes mean for you?

For the first time since 2007, Taiwan moved back into the top 20 arrival markets for the United States. After two years of no growth, Taiwan posted a 33% increase in arrivals to the country propelled by its entry into the Visa Waiver Program in November of 2011. Learn more about travelers from this country and when they will set a new record for arrivals to the United States, last set in 2000 when over 457,000 Taiwanese visited America.
Hong Kong has been a market that has seen its share of ups and downs since 2003, posting increases in arrivals in 6 of the last 10 years, it currently generates over 122,000 visitors to the country.
Please join the Commerce team on the upcoming webinar to learn more about these three important markets.
Here are the details for the China/Taiwan/Hong Kong Webinar:

December 4, 2014
7:00pm - 8:30pm EST (4:00pm - 5:30pm PST)
Event Cost: $75

Webinar call-in & log-in information will be sent after registration is received.

For questions, please contact Anastasia Xenias, PhD, at anastasia.xenias@trade.gov, Ron Erdmann at ron.erdmann@trade.gov or Robert Stackpole at robert.stackpole@trade.gov in the United States or Stellar Chu at stellar.chu@trade.gov in Shanghai, Mei Mei Wang at MeiMei.Wang@trade.govin Taipei, and Kimmy Lee at Kimmy.Lee@trade.gov in Hong Kong.

NTTO Background
The International Trade Administration's National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) collects, analyzes and disseminates international travel and tourism statistics for the U.S. Travel and Tourism Statistical System. To view the NTTO’s latest non-resident arrivals & spending data, market profiles, forecast and more, please visit: http://travel.trade.gov/outreachpages/inbound.general_information.inbound_overview.html
For more detail information on inbound international travel to the United States, please visit: http://travel.trade.gov/outreachpages/inbound.general_information.inbound_overview.html

U.S. Commercial Service Background
The U.S. Commercial Service is the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration. The Commercial Service trade professionals in nearly 100 U.S. cities and in nearly 80 countries help U.S. companies get started in exporting or increase sales to new global markets. Learn more about the Commercial Service, go to: http://www.trade.gov/cs/
For more information on the Commercial Service Global Travel and Tourism Team, including links to market research, trade events and webinar recordings see: http://www.export.gov/industry/travel

NTA Renews Travel Agent Program

NTA Renews Travel Agent Program

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 19, 2014) — Travel agents will be back in the mix at Travel Exchange ’15. Following a successful debut in Los Angeles in February, NTA’s Travel Agent Program will bring agents to the Jan. 18–22 convention in New Orleans that unites the National Tour Association, the United Motorcoach Association and the Faith Travel Association.

Travel agents can attend the two-day program, Jan. 19–20, that includes a networking session with tour operators, tour suppliers and destination offices; access to the show’s Destination Pavilion; a seat at their choice of professional development seminars; and a ticket to the Best of Broadway Luncheon, which is sponsored by Group Sales Box Office/Broadway.com, with musical acts from a dozen current Broadway shows.

Interacting with NTA members yields both immediate and long-term gains for travel agents, said Sherri Guiborat, who routinely works with travel agents in her job as vice president of sales with Mayflower Tours.

“Connecting with tour operators and their buying power can give travel agents wonderful touring experiences to sell into right away,” Guiborat said. “And by meeting people from hotels, attractions, restaurants and destinations that cater to groups, agents acquire go-to contacts who can help them down the road.”

Agents will also be elbow to elbow with operators and suppliers engaged in niche travel markets: student, active/adventure, culinary, multi-generation and many others, said Pam Inman, NTA president.

“That’s the thing about Travel Exchange: It’s an enormous all-star team of travel professionals with unique specialties,” Inman said. “Our members can tell you more about their particular niche or expertise than you ever knew existed.”

Along with events designed to help agents add tour product to their portfolios and industry partners to contacts lists, there are also avenues for informal networking.

“We want our travel agent guests to join us at the Broadway Luncheon and at the wine and cheese reception later that afternoon,” Inman said. “Those agents had better bring a lot of business cards, because every time they turn around, they’ll be meeting someone they can do business with.”

Guiborat, a member of both NTA and ASTA, has led a number of seminars for travel agents in which she encouraged them to affiliate with NTA. “Nearly two-thirds of NTA tour company members offer commissionable packages, so Travel Exchange is packed with profit for agents,” she said. “These two days in New Orleans can have a tremendous ROI for them.”

The cost for travel agents to participate in one or both days of the Travel Agent Program is $49. For more information, contact Lori Rempe at NTA Headquarters at 800.682.8886 (U.S. and Canada) or +1.859.264.6544.

About the National Tour Association: Founded in 1951, NTA is the leading business-building association for travel professionals interested in the North American market—inbound, outbound and within the continent. Travel Exchange will take place at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Jan. 18–22. For more information, visit NTAonline.com.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Travel Pulse One on One: David Wong, Team Leader for AfricaExperts by Goway


Article link:

Opening excerpt:
David Wong, team leader for Toronto-based AfricaExperts by Goway, participated in the National Tour Association (NTA) Product Development Trip to Ethiopia in September. Travel Pulse spoke to him after he returned about the trip, Goway Travel's Africa division, Ebola and the career path that led from Calgary to Africa.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Destinations try to build a brand with culinary tourism

Article link:

Opening Excerpt:

In 2005, the tourism body for Providence, Rhode Island, discovered that it desperately needed a brand refresh and successfully turned itself into a New England culinary hub with chefs and new restaurants concepts attracting visitors for foodie trips. Now, a decade later, Providence is realizing that food alone isn't enough to build a long-term tourism brand.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


Article link:



When Ethiopia opened its doors to the National Tour Association during a product development trip last month, it opened the eyes of NTA tour operators.

"Ethiopia is a country like no other," said Tim Ambrose, sales director for Washington, D.C.-based Academic Travel Abroad, who joined other tour operators and travel journalists on the trip. "Its many unique religious, cultural and natural assets provide a genuine, unfiltered experience. It's real."

The product development trip, conducted by NTA and the Ethiopian Tourism Organization, with assistance from the Ethiopian embassy in Washington, D.C., provided tour operators with a comprehensive overview of the east African country's tourism product and its potential for tour business. The 10-day program featured stops at national parks, ancient castles and places of worship. It also included a steady stream of interactions with villagers, shopkeepers and craftspeople.

"While I was fortunate to see some incredible sites, my most profound memory of Ethiopia is of the people," Ambrose said. "They are friendly, welcoming and gracious, and everywhere we went we were greeted with genuine warmth."

NTA President Pam Inman is pleased by the success of the PDT, both for the participants and the host country. "Our tour operators returned home inspired, and they plan to offer new Ethiopian tours to North American travelers," Inman said. "Ethiopia's security and stability are conducive for the tourism market, and the diversity of experiences makes it an incredible destination."

The tour operators and journalists visited significant religious and cultural sites, delved into Ethiopia's natural beauty and met with local experts who help them develop niche-focused tour product, including active/adventure, historical/cultural and faith-based travel.

NTA's Ethiopia PDT is the latest in a series of trips organized by the association to educate its tour operator members about options for packaging global travel. In recent years NTA has led trips to Scotland, Morocco, Germany/Czech Republic and the Holy Land (Jordan and Israel). These projects are part of NTA's mission, according to Inman.

"We always want to look ahead-and look around-to help our members create innovative, captivating itineraries for their clients," Inman said. "Given NTA's 63-year history and global membership in 44 countries, we constantly look at the big picture."

Friday, October 31, 2014

Analysis of Religious Tourism (by TTG MENA)

TTG MENA wrote an outstanding overview and analysis of religious tourism in today's world. Here's how to read more on this story...

Article link: http://www.ttgmena.com/Analysis-Religious-Tourism/

Opening Excerpt:

An original pillar from which the travel industry was born, religious tourism has of late been thrust into the ‘niche’ pigeon hole. But, with immense economic potential and an imperturbable resilience to external influences, perhaps it is time the wider industry reassessed its categorization.

Read rest of the article here: http://www.ttgmena.com/Analysis-Religious-Tourism/

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Directory of Approved U.S.-based China Tour Operators

Outstanding resource featuring a full directory of approved U.S.-based China Tour Operators for 2014 to 2015.

Click here to view the Directory:

For more information about applying to be an approved U.S.-based China Tour Operator, contact the National Tour Association at:

Website www.NTAonline.com

China Inbound website: http://www.ntaonline.com/for-members/resources/china-inbound-program/ 

NTA Telephone #: 859.264.6540

Meet the Tour Operator: Yohannes Zeleke

Meet the Tour Operator: Yohannes Zeleke

Opening excerpt:
When you hang with somebody, when you get down, travel around, eat meals together, hike around, discuss, argue, dance, drink, sing, laugh and various other things, you don’t often think about the initials after people’s names. But in truth Yohannes Zeleke, a member of the party that traveled to Ethiopia on the recent NTA Product Development trip, is a Ph.D.

As remarkable as those initials are, it’s one of the least interesting things that comes to mind about Dr. Zeleke. He is an anthropologist, an archaeologist with decades of digs in Europe, Asia and Africa under his belt. He’s an author. He’s a research associate with the Smithsonian Institution. He’s an alumnus of the University of California at Berkeley, The Russian Academy of Sciences and St. Petersburg State University. He teaches anthropology at the American University in Washington DC. He’s the president of the Mid-Atlantic chapter of the Africa Travel Association and he’s a tour operator.

Read rest of the story here:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Move Over Guys, Women-Only Travel Is Growing (by Monique Burns)

Very insightful article by Monique Burns of TravelMarketReport.com on the growing trend of women-only group vacations.

Click here to read full article.

Opening Excerpt:
When it comes to gender-specific travel, “buddy travel” and “man-cations”—from humble fishing trips to lavish golf getaways—have long been top of the list with men.

But women traveling with women—sometimes called “girlfriend getaways”—has recently blossomed into a large and lucrative market.

Women of all ages are traveling in record numbers with female friends and relatives.   A 2013 American Express survey reported a huge surge in girlfriend getaways with 56% of women travelers taking women-only trips, and a 15% increase in trips booked between 2012 and 2013.

Click here to read full article.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Beyond China: One-on-One with NTA's Haybina Hao

Tour Operator | National Tour Association (NTA) | David Cogswell | October 17, 2014

Read full story here.

Opening excerpt:

Haybina Hao was born in Beijing and became involved in NTA (the National Tour Association) during the time it was working with the U.S. and Chinese governments to help facilitate inbound U.S. travel from the Chinese mainland. She worked with Western Leisure, the Salt Lake City-based tour operator on its inbound China program, then later took the job as director of international development for NTA (formerly known as the National Tour Association).  

Hao was the NTA representative on the NTA Ethiopia Product Development Trip (PDT) in late September. TravelPulse discussed the trip with her in an interview after she returned to the U.S.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Meet the Tour Operator: Andrew Selinka

Tour Operator | David Cogswell | October 16, 2014

Click here to view article.

Opening excerpt:
Many winding paths converge in the tour industry. The industry is a haven for a wide variety of seekers who were unsatisfied trying to fit into more conventional walks of life.
Take Andrew Selinka, the owner ofAcademic Expeditions. A look at his resume gives the impression that he wanted to try everything else before he took up tour operating.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

NTA’s Prez: Helping Members Build Unique Itineraries (by Robin Amster)

Click here to read full article.

Published by TravelMarketReport.com and written by Robin Amster.

Open excerpt:

NTA needs to continue to help its members develop special interest travel and niche markets, according to its new president.

Pam Inman, who took the reins at NTA, last month, said members have been telling her that Internet savvy travelers often search online for their own unique experiences. The association can help through education and by bringing specialists together at its annual Travel Exchange.

NTA also has a lot to offer travel agents who, for the first time last year, were invited to that convention, said Inman. The agent part of the gathering features agent-specific education and opportunities to connect with NTA members

Click here to read full article.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Ethiopian Dispatches: The Bush and the Village


Article link:

Opening excerpt:

On the eighth day of the NTA Product Development Tour of Ethiopia we saw two more essential aspects of the many-faceted country.
We started from Paradise Lodge in Arba Minch where we saw a fantastic sunrise over a vista that included the giant expanse of water of Lake Abaya and a huge symmetrical mountain known as God's Bridge.
Article link: 

Ethiopia's Top Ten Religious Highlights



Here's the opening excerpt:
Ethiopia is emerging from the shadowy sidelines of the world community and joining the global travel industry, bringing its attractions to market. The richness of the country’s historical sites will surprise most people who have never visited the country before. Besides its fertile sub-saharan landscape and natural wonders, the East African country has a wealth of historical sites, and many major religious sites.
NTA (National Tour Association) recently conducted a Product Development Trip to Ethiopia, sponsored by the Ethiopian government, to introduce American tour operators to the country’s tourism possibilities.

Read the rest of the article here:

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Virtuoso chief on experiential and multigen travel trends (Travel Weekly)

Excellent article by Jeri Clausing on two key trends:

1) Upswing in luxury travelers seeking experiences that can't be found in any typical guidebook.
2) More families and multi-generationals seeking to provide their children with supplemented education through travel.

Article link:

Embassy of Ethiopia Publishes NTA's Product Development Trip to Ethiopia

Ethiopia Embassy link: http://www.ethiopianembassy.org/

Ethiopia Embassy link to NTA Product Development Trip: 

Ethiopian Dispatches: The Bush and the Village

By David Cogswell with Travel Pulse
Article link: 

Opening excerpt:

On the eighth day of the NTA Product Development Tour of Ethiopia we saw two more essential aspects of the many-faceted country.

We started from Paradise Lodge in Arba Minch where we saw a fantastic sunrise over a vista that included the giant expanse of water of Lake Abaya and a huge symmetrical mountain known as God's Bridge.

To read the rest of David's story, click here:

Ethiopia for First-Timers

Want to know what it's like to visit Ethiopia for the first time when traveling?

Prominent travel trade journalist, David Cogswell, shares his first-hand encounter story from within Ethiopia:


Here is David's opening excerpt:

Ignorance is not often considered an asset, but on this trip to Ethiopia I have the advantage of being able to report my impressions as a first-time visitor who knew very little about the country before I got on this NTA Product Development Trip this week.

The schedule is full, leaving little time to file reports, and there are many things to report. The Ethiopian Tourism Organization was tasked with trying to give as comprehensive a picture of Ethiopia’s tourism possibilities as possible to a small group of tour operators in a 10-day period, including trans-Atlantic transportation. In four full days of touring they have done a great job of dazzling us with the range of possibilities in the country, and we’re only about halfway finished with the trip.

Read rest of the story at 


Friday, October 3, 2014

Booming Wellness Tourism Now a Nearly $495 Billion Industry

Author: Robin Amster
Publisher: Travel Market Report

Click here to view article.

Opening excerpt:
Wellness tourism is now a $494 billion worldwide industry—and it’s just one segment in a whopping $3.4 trillion global wellness economy—according to new report from the Global Spa & Wellness Summit.

Conducted by SRI International, “The 2014 Global Wellness Economy Monitor” said wellness tourism’s $494 billion in revenues for 2013 represents an increase of nearly 13% over 2012, outpacing SRI’s original growth forecast of 9%.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Dispatches from Ethiopia: A Series of Mind-Altering Experiences

Here's latest article from David Cogswell of Travel Pulse on his travels through Ethiopia with NTA tour operators.

Dispatches from Ethiopia: A Series of Mind-Altering Experiences

CCTV: Interview on Impact of Faith Tourism on Local Economies

CCTV America is joined by Kevin Wright, National Tour Association Director of Growth Markets, to talk about religious tourism.

Click here to view interview. http://www.cctv-america.com/2014/10/01/mecca-pkg

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Adventure Travel Trade Association Releases First Global Adventure Bicycle Tourism Report

Click here to view full article.

Opening excerpt:

The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA;www.adventuretravel.biz) released the results of the first global bicycle tourism survey for the adventure travel industry. Each year the ATTA invites adventure businesses to share anonymous information about their companies and uses that data to compile a report called the Industry Snapshot. The 2014 Bicycle Tourism survey follows a similar methodology, but focuses only on adventure businesses offering cycling trips or activities.


Check out the new CLIA membership structure via Andrew Sheivachman's article in Travel Market Report.

Here's opening excerpt:

For the first time in its 40 years as an association, CLIA is overhauling its membership structure to focus on benefits for the travel agency community.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Here's Why to Fly Ethiopian Airlines

Dispatches From Ethiopia: A First Encounter David Cogswell from Travel Pulse writes on why Ethiopian Airlines is best airline to take when flying from the U.S. to Ethiopia (hint: it's a direct flight with no stops!).

Read full article here:

Monday, September 15, 2014

More Affluents Using Travel Agents (Travel Market Report)

Per the opening of a story by Robin Amster of Travel Market Report....

Travel agents can expect to capture a larger share of the coveted affluent travel market over the next two years, according to a new study from MMGY Global.

Article link:

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

New Family Travel Market Guide Published

Want to learn more about the family and multi-generational travel market in less than 5 minutes?

Just click here to view the newly updated and published "NTA Family Travel & Multi-generational Market Guide: http://www.ntaonline.com/includes/media/docs/Family-TMG.pdf

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

NTA Readies for More Operators, More Options at Travel Exchange

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 2, 2014) — Travel Exchange is more than four months away, but NTA leaders are already preparing for higher attendance at their Jan. 18–22, 2015, event in New Orleans. Overall registration is pacing 6 percent ahead of 2014, and tour operators are leading the pack, with 35 percent more registrants than this time last year.

“We know that where buyers go, sellers will follow, so we are planning for a bump in attendance,” said Pam Inman, whose first day as NTA president is today. “I’m pleased that the first news I have to share is that interest in our annual event has increased, and this is consistent with what our operators are telling us about their business this year.”

According to the association’s mid-year survey of members, 68 percent of the NTA tour operators surveyed reported an increased sales volume during the first six months of 2014, compared to 2013. A similar number (65 percent) reported serving more clients so far this year. And six in 10 said that 2014 bookings are on pace to be greater than in 2013.

Along with better business, Inman attributes the rise in registration for Travel Exchange to strong marketing and great interest in the host city. “New Orleans is a terrific convention site, and our members also see it as a top-notch destination to explore and enjoy,” she said, adding that half of the sightseeing trips have already sold out. Through these tours, the Crescent City offers attendees a range of tour product that includes culinary, art, history and adventure tourism.

New Orleans’ market diversity mirrors the interest that tour operators’ clients have in unique, specialized experiences. Earlier 2014 surveys show that NTA tour operators are becoming increasingly active in diverse markets. Most already package U.S. national parks, education and events, and operators report significant growth in five markets: agritourism, ecotourism, sports, voluntourism and faith-based travel. Tour operators offering and developing product for all of these tour types will be at Travel Exchange.

The Travel Exchange umbrella includes the NTA convention, the United Motorcoach EXPO and the Faith Travel Association conference. Thirty countries were represented by NTA delegates at Travel Exchange ’14, held last February in Los Angeles. Attendees generated more than $150 million in total business, according to an independent study conducted for NTA by Jason R. Swanson, Ph.D., assistant professor of hospitality and tourism management at the University of Kentucky.

Monday, September 1, 2014

US eager to cater to Chinese tourists

Excellent article from the Associated Press about the fast-growing market of Chinese travelers visiting the U.S.

Here's one quote from the story:
"Until they have visited U.S.A., they don't feel they have done their international travel yet," Hao said. "They need to see it and put themselves in the photograph, so they can prove they have done this." - Haybina Hao, NTA

Article link: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/aug/26/us-eager-to-cater-to-chinese-tourists/ 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Monday, July 28, 2014

Temecula is Ideal Travel Destination for Groups of All Kinds!

Want to "wow" your tour group? Or your family? Or your friends? 

If so, begin making plans to embark on a memorable vacation or weekend getaway to beautiful Temecula in Southern California (located just one hour north of San Diego).

Home to breathtaking scenery and blue-rich skies, Temecula has a little something for everyone including hot air balloon rides, winery tours, golfing, horseback riding, entertainment, shopping, agricultural tours, and plenty of other outdoor recreation activities.

Temecula is an ideal destination for any of the following groups:
* Leisure tour groups
* Student & youth  groups
* Senior groups
* Families
* Couples
* Adventure enthusiasts
* Culinary & food enthusiasts
* Agritourism professionals
* Gardening enthusiasts
* Wine enthusiasts
* Casino enthusiasts
* Golfing enthusiasts
* Sports enthusiasts
* And the list goes on!

How can you begin planning your next trip to Temecula?
Visit the Temecula Valley website at www.visittemeculavalley.com, as well as order any of the following helpful guides:
* Online Visitors Guide
* Tour & Travel Planner Guide
* Meeting Guide
* Sports Planner Guide
* Temecula Valley Visitor Guide

Or for more info, you can contact Temecula Valley and Visitors Center directly at:

Visit Temecula Valley – Main Office & Visitors Center 28690 Mercedes Street. Suite A
Temecula, CA 92590
Phone: (951) 491-6085
Toll Free: (888) 363-2852
Fax: (951) 491-6089

Email: info@visittemeculavalley.com
Website: www.visittemeculavalley.com

P.S. Be sure to also watch the great following video about Temecula...

Multi-Generational Vacations Are on the Rise in the U.S.(by Dan Peltier, Skift)

Opening excerpt:
Grandparents love spending time with their grandchildren, and now they’re seemingly taking more vacations with them than ever before to create those cherished memories.

Friday, July 25, 2014

2015 Passion Play in Italy for Churches & Faith-based Groups (by Ruth Hill/Travel Market Report)

Passion Play taking place in 2015 in Italy for faith-based travel groups.

Here's the story from Ruth Hill and Travel Market Report:

"It will be another five years before the Oberammergau play comes around, and the experience is much the same,” said Regina Tours president Nick Mancino.

UNWTO Committed to Support Ethiopia's Tourism Industry

Article link http://m.allafrica.com/stories/201407230944.html/?maneref=http%3A%2F%2Flittleethiopia.org%2F 

23 July 2014 , Source: Ethiopia Government

Dr. Taleb Raifi, Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), announced on Sunday (July 20) that UNWTO would continue to promote Ethiopia's rich and extensive historical, cultural and natural tourist sites. He said the organization would collaborate with Ethiopia's Ministry of Culture and Tourism to protect the heritage of the country, and help set up multi-tourism organizations as well as expand tourist infrastructures.

As Ethiopia was the cradle of human kind, he said, UNWTO remained committed to advertise Ethiopia's historic, religious and natural attractions through various promotional activities as well work to make Ethiopia a preferred tourist destination.

Tadelech Dalecho, State Minister for the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, emphasized that the discussions she had with the Secretary General of UNWTO were helpful in carrying forward Ethiopia's vision of becoming one of the top five tourist destinations in Africa by 2020. She noted that UNWTO's support would help create capacity to expedite the promotional activities necessary to transform the tourism industry. She said she appreciated UNWTO's pragmatic engagement in publicizing Ethiopia's major tourist attraction sites and provide support in the development of infrastructure.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Add Wine Tastings and Tours to Your Southern California Experience with Monte De Oro Winery

Enjoying wine tastings at
Monte De Oro Winery
If you love winery tours, wine tasting experiences and spectacular scenery, then be sure to add Monte De Oro Winery in Temecula to your Southern California tours and getaways.

Temecula is the wine country capital of Southern California and there's few better places to experience the true flavor of this destination than at Monte De Oro Winery.

Here's a brief look at what you can do with a visit to this award-winning winery destination:
* Enjoy a delectable variety of wines in their architecturally stunningly  Tasting Room.
* Participate in a guided tour of the winery and vineyards, discovering and learning firsthand about Monte De Oro's winemaking process
* Take in beautiful panoramic views of the Temecula Wine Country from the outdoor terrace

Monte De Oro is also the ideal place to celebrate a wedding, corporate event or a party of virtually any kind.

It's perfect for large groups, small groups, couples or individuals....making it an ideal experience for any tour itinerary and  weekend (or weekday!) getaway.

For more information contact:

Monte De Oro Winery
Address: 35820 Rancho California Rd, Temecula, CA 92591
Phone: (951) 491-6551
Website http://montedeoro.com 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

One of the Finest Temecula Winery Restaurants for Your Groups: Callaway Vineyard & Winery

I loved the wine tasting experience
at Callaway Vineyard!
If you're planning a group tour, or even an individual or family trip to Temecula in Southern California.....definitely consider adding Callaway Vineyard and Winery to your itinerary. There are so many reasons to visit Callaway Vineyard and Winery.

Breathtaking Views
For one, it's located in a spectacular area of Temecula sitting atop a hill with gorgeous panoramic views of the valley below.

Mediterranean Cuisine & Winery Restaurant
Secondly, Callaway's restaurant (Meritage Restaurant) ranks among the finest in Temecula with its delicious Mediterranean-type cuisine. The meals are all made with the freshest of ingredients of each season from the local farms. It's about as authentic as you can get!

Guided Walking Tours
Then either before or after dining at Meritage Restaurant, you can enjoy a guided walking tour of the winery fields at Callaway. Learn firsthand about their grape vineyards and growing processes, as well as their wine-making processes.  It's a fascinating and fun learning experience for all involved!

Wine Tastings!
And no visit to Callaway Vineyard would be complete without wine tastings. While here you can taste a wide variety of wines made right here at Callaway.

How to Book Your Next Visit to Callaway Vineyard & Winery?
Simply contact the winery at the information below or visit their website.

Callaway Vineyard & Winery
32720 Rancho California Road, Temecula, CA 92591
Tel (951) 676-4001 or (800) 472-2377
Fax (951) 676-5209

Website http://www.callawaywinery.com

Meritage at Callaway
(951) 587-8889

Monday, July 21, 2014

Culinary Travel at its Best: Touring Olive Oil Ranch in Southern California (Temecula)

Have you ever been on an olive oil ranch tour?

If you're looking for a fascinating culinary travel experience for your tour group, family or yourself, look no further than the Temecula Olive Oil Company in Southern California.  Here on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of every month you can enjoy a guided walking tour of the olive groves, as well as the process behind olive harvesting techniques, milling and pressing, as well as even tasting of the extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars.

I myself had an opportunity to enjoy a guided tour along with the olive oil tastings. What an experience! The scenery was spectacular, the information was very fascinating, and the tastings of numerous different olive oils a wondrous delight.

A visit to the ranch of the Temecula Olive Oil Company is perfect for senior groups, church groups, culinary groups, families, gardening groups, leisure travel groups and many others.

To get an inside glimpse of the tours offered, click here to watch a video: 

Here's another glimpse into special events hosted at the olive oil ranch:

For information about booking a tour, click here:

P.S. If you're in downtown Temecula, San Diego, Solano Beach, or Seal Beach, you can visit one of the shops of the Temecula Olive Oil Company where you can purchase their olive oils and other related products. For more info about the shops and locations, click here: 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Hot Air Balloon Ride in Temecula is a Must!

 One of the most beautiful places in North America to enjoy a hot air balloon ride is in the Southern California wine country valley of Temecula.

Last week I had an opportunity to do just that! Spectacular, breathtaking and amazing are just some of the words to describe the experience.

As it was my first time to ride a hot air balloon ride, I was full of anticipation and a little nervousness.  However, basically once we lifted off, it was all enjoyment and excitement from that point onward.

One of the biggest highlights came about halfway through the trip when we rose above the clouds to 4,400 feet with incredible views of the sunrise and four mountain ranges....it was without par, once of the most awe-inspiring views and experiences I've ever encountered (see my photo to the right!).

Another highlight was flying just a few feet above several vineyards, we could even see the grapes growing on the vines!

After the one-hour trip, there was one more final highlight in store, enjoying a glass of champagne with our fellow 5 travelers whom we rode with. Together we all toasted to the trip and shared conversations about our fantastic hot air balloon experience.

We learned one of the couples on board was celebrating their anniversary and the husband had surprised his wife by arranging the hot air balloon ride in advance as a gift (she had no idea about it until they showed up at the launching site and she saw the hot air balloon carrier basket. It was at that time she learned they were going on a hot air balloon ride to celebrate their anniversary!).

How can you or your group learn more about booking a hot air balloon ride in Temecula? 

For more information about hot air balloon rides, click on the following Visit Temecula Valley website which provides a listing of hot air balloon companies:

For more information about booking directly with the company that I rode with (A Grape Escape Balloon Adventure), click here http://www.hotairtours.com.

Or you can contact them directly at:
A Grape Escape Balloon Adventure
33475 La Serena Way, Temecula, CA 92591
Phone:(951) 699-9987

Friday, July 18, 2014

You'll Love Pechanga Resort....California's Largest Casino

If you're looking for a fun, exciting getaway.......definitely consider going to Pechanga Resort & Casino located in the Southern California city of Temecula (just one hour north of San Diego)!

Pechanga offers so much as an all-inclusive destination. It's a resort, it's a casino, it provides entertainment, it's provides a spa, and it provides golf opportunities.

It's the perfect destination for people of all ages and for groups of all kinds.

Here's 5 great reasons to stay at Pechanga:
1) Beautiful accommodations located in the midst of beautiful scenery
2) Some of the biggest names in entertainment play there.
3) More than 3,000 slots and video machines along with 130+ table games
4) Pamper yourself at the spa
5) Ranked among the best golf courses

How can you learn more about Pechanga Resort & Casino or book your next stay there?
Visit their official website: www.pechanga.com

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Cork Fire Kitchen Offers Most Delicious Farm-to-Table Experience in Temecula

Are you looking for a most authentic and delicious farm-to-table experience for yourself, family or tour group?

Definitely check out the Cork Fire Kitchen in Temecula, California.  The restaurant is located at the Temecula Creek Inn.

This past week we had an opportunity to dine at the Cork Fire Kitchen to celebrate a friend's birthday. It was the perfect place to enjoy our festivities while feasting on delicious, organic cuisine. All of our meals were made by the chef with the freshest of ingredients from local farms.

My delicious spread of cheeses and meats from local farms
while dining at the Cork Fire Kitchen
If you're looking to wow your friends, family, or group with a memorable and one-of-a-kind breakfast, lunch or dinner experience, then I highly recommend contacting the Cork Fire Kitchen!

How can you learn more about the Cork Fire Kitchen? Just click here...

How can you book your reservation at the Cork Fire Kitchen? Just call them at 951.587.1465

* For more info about visiting Temecula in Southern California, click here.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Loved Visiting World Famous San Diego Zoo

Me at the Polar Bear Exhibit
at San Diego Zoo
Yesterday I had a chance to visit the San Diego Zoo and loved every minute of it!

The world famous San Diego Zoo is a perfect attraction for tour operators to include on their itineraries when their groups visit San Diego. The zoo appeals to every age group, as well as to a wide variety of markets from family travel to church groups to students groups and so many more.

How can you learn more about the wide variety of experiences the San Diego Zoo offers groups? Just click here to learn more: http://zoo.sandiegozoo.org/experiences 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Women's Travel Market Entrepreneur: Debra Asberry (by Groups Today)

Debra Asberry, founder and president of Women Traveling Together, talks about how she got involved in the women's travel market and what has kept her business going strong for seventeen years.

Here's the feature story by Groups Today:

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Finest Journeys Launches New Website

New Website Focuses on Luxury Travel Itineraries to Europe

ESCONDIDO, CA – May 27, 2014 – Finest Journeys, a luxury travel company that specializes in customized travel itineraries for discerning travelers to Europe, is excited to announce the launch of its new website at www.FinestJourneys.com. Finest Journeys, formerly known as In Quest of the Classics, has carefully crafted its new website to showcase its unique and luxurious offerings.

The focal point of the website that both consumers and travel agents will find helpful are the many itineraries featured, which provide detailed itinerary examples of the types of trips Finest Journeys can put together to different countries in Europe. Each trip can be customized to best fit the needs and interests of each traveler. From Western Europe to Eastern Europe and the majestic countries of Scandinavia to the remote islands of Greece, Finest Journeys can provide memorable travel experiences for any part of the European continent.  
Speaking at the launch of the new website, Finest Journeys President Suzanne Kurtz said, “We are thrilled that the new website can be used by our customers and their travel agents to help them decide what type of itinerary and trip style they want for their vacation. My team of experienced travel consultants are here to help with the itinerary planning fully supported by our local on the ground network in every European country we feature.”

Finest Journeys has strong and long established partnerships with local travel organizers and prestigious hotels around Europe who provide 24/7 local on the ground support for its traveling clients.
To continue to make things easy for travelers, the Finest Journeys website also has a Travel Styles section that breaks down itineraries into five different categories: Culinary, Honeymoon, Sailing/Cruises, UNESCO Heritage Sites and Wine Tasting.

“Finest Journeys is who we are and what we provide”, continues Kurtz, “working in partnership with the travel agent community, we craft tailor made journeys in Europe for our travelers, which provide exceptional and memorable travel experiences.
About Finest Journeys

Finest Journeys is located in Escondido, California, and has over thirty years of providing luxury, custom itineraries for travel in Europe whether it's for couples, families or groups. Over the years, Finest Journeys has developed excellent relationships with travel and tourism companies for every country in Europe and can provide experiences the luxury traveler may have never even known existed, taking their trip from just memorable to a highlight of their life.

Finest Journeys…Showing You the World Your Way.

For more information about this story, contact Suzanne Kurtz with Finest Journeys at 800-227-1393 or at Suzanne@FinestJourneys.com.   

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

U.S. Travel Places to Encounter Faith – Part II

The latest story by Ruth Hill.....

In addition to cathedrals and churches, here's Part 2 of more sites around the country where Christian faith-based travelers may find faith on display.

The post U.S.Places to Encounter Faith – Part II appeared first on FaithTravel Focus.