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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

NTA's Travel Exchange 2016 and 2017 Convention Dates Announced

The National Tour Association announced a slate of upcoming convention dates that will return its annual Travel Exchange to the fourth quarter of the calendar year.

Following the previously announced event in St. Louis, Feb. 26-March 2, 2017, San Antonio will host Travel Exchange later in the year, Dec. 14-18. And Milwaukee will be the host city in 2018, Nov. 4-8. Members who attend the 2017 St. Louis show can pay half the registration fee for San Antonio. The same discount will apply to sponsors.

"With shows on both ends of the year, we're working to make it affordable-and essential-to double up in 2017," said President Pam Inman. "Members asked that we return our convention to the fourth quarter, and we're excited to do just that."

On NTA's immediate horizon, though, is Travel Exchange '16 in Atlanta, Jan. 31-Feb. 4; it will be the first convention to include travel agents as full participants. The association this year added a new membership category, Travel Planner, open to retail travel agents. Also in 2016, NTA will conduct the Atlanta show independent of the United Motorcoach Association; the two organizations completed a three-year colocation agreement earlier this year. Travel Exchange will continue to include NTA's sister organization, Faith Travel Association.

The changes reflect the desires of members. "We really take to heart-and mind-the feedback we get from members through post-convention surveys, annual questionnaires and face-to-face conversations," Inman said. "The board and staff are constantly seeking to fine-tune Travel Exchange."

Registrations for Atlanta are still coming in, and it's not too late to sign up and receive prescheduled appointments. Appointment scheduling continues until Tuesday, Dec. 22. For more information on the event and to see who's coming, visit NTAonline.com/convention.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Listen here to Hispanic Travel Trends Webinar (hosted by ThinkNow Research)

The National Tour Association invites you to listen to the Hispanic Travel Trends webinar presented by ThinkNow Research's Mario X. Carrasco. 

The webinar discusses transportation habits of U.S. Hispanic travelers, as well as average vacation spend, travel trends, and more. If you currently serve this market or want to tap into it, you'll want to click on following webinar link:

http://tinyurl.com/NTA-Hispanic-Travel-Webinar

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Webinar: Reaching the Hispanic traveler

NTA invites you to participate in our Dec. 9 Hispanic market webinar at 2 p.m. ET. 

Presented by ThinkNow Research's Mario X. Carrasco, the webinar will discuss transportation habits of U.S. Hispanic travelers, as well as average vacation spend, travel trends, and more. 

If you currently serve this market or want to tap into it, you'll want to click here to get signed up.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

NTA Opens Membership to Travel Agents (Groups Today)


The National Tour Association is opening its membership to travel agents, enabling them to expand their tour portfolio by partnering directly with NTA tour operators. Miami-based North Shore Travel became the first travel agency to join NTA under its new member category, Travel Planner.

"We are really excited to be with NTA and be part of a valued and reliable industry leader," said Sebastian Ohrwaschel, North Shore Travel's managing director. "The association gives us access to different resources and the opportunity to connect with innovative partners."

For the past two years, NTA has welcomed travel agents to Travel Exchange, its annual convention, for a two-day program that featured a business session, targeted education, and an introduction to the show's trade floor. Now, travel agents can attend the 2016 show in Atlanta as members, with full access to NTA colleagues, seminars, and numerous networking opportunities.

"We're eager to get travel planners into the mix at Travel Exchange," said NTA President Pam Inman. "Those new members—retail travel agents—can increase their revenue by tapping into trending tour product our operators have created, which, in turn, will give our suppliers and destinations a boost."

Travel Exchange '16 is slated for January 31 – February 4 in the Georgia World Congress Center. The hallmark of the show for travel agents has been the access to tour companies that package innovative product geared to specialty markets and niche tours.

NTA tour operators voted in May to establish the new membership category for retail travel agents at for-profit companies whose primary business is selling the tours and packages of a tour operator or third party. The vote followed two years of member-led research and discussions.

"For 64 years NTA has helped our members be successful, because we're always open to new ideas that meet the changing needs of travelers and the shifting business models within the industry. We know our operators would like to sell more tours through travel agents, and in turn, agents can increase their business by having access to more tour operator-packaged travel," Inman said. "We expect to see a gradual, steady growth of travel planner members, and we look forward to seeing them in Atlanta."

About NTA: Founded in 1951, the National Tour Association is a global organization of packaged-travel professionals serving travelers to, from and within North America. For more information, visit NTAonline.com.

- See more at: http://groupstoday.com/news/439-nta-opens-membership-to-travel-agents#sthash.r910s7uk.dpuf

Anthony Bourdain Talks Culinary Travel at Ensemble (by Travel Market Report)

Article link:
http://www.travelmarketreport.com/articles/Anthony-Bourdain-Talks-Culinary-Travel-at-Ensemble



Opening excerpt:


Food talk was on the menu at the Ensemble Travel Group International Conference in Orlando on Monday, kicked off by keynote speaker and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Travel Agents Now a Part of NTA

LEXINGTON, Kentucky (Oct. 13, 2015) — The National Tour Association is opening its membership to travel agents, enabling them to expand their tour portfolio by partnering directly with NTA tour operators. Miami-based North Shore Travel became the first travel agency to join NTA under its new member category, Travel Planner.

“We are really excited to be with NTA and be part of a valued and reliable industry leader,” said Sebastian Ohrwaschel, North Shore Travel’s managing director. “The association gives us access to different resources and the opportunity to connect with innovative partners.”

For the past two years, NTA has welcomed travel agents to Travel Exchange, its annual convention, for a two-day program that featured a business session, targeted education and an introduction to the show’s trade floor. Now travel agents can attend the 2016 show in Atlanta as members and have full access to NTA colleagues, seminars and numerous networking opportunities.

“We’re eager to get travel planners into the mix at Travel Exchange,” said NTA President Pam Inman. “Those new members—retail travel agents—can increase their revenue by tapping into trending tour product our operators have created, which, in turn, will give our suppliers and destinations a boost.”

Travel Exchange ’16 is slated for Jan. 31–Feb. 4 in the Georgia World Congress Center. The hallmark of the show for travel agents has been the access to tour companies that package innovative product geared to specialty markets and niche tours.

NTA tour operators voted in May to establish the new membership category for retail travel agents at for-profit companies whose primary business is selling the tours and packages of a tour operator or third party. The vote followed two years of member-led research and discussions.

“For 64 years NTA has helped our members be successful because we’re always open to new ideas that meet the changing needs of travelers and the shifting business models within the industry. We know our operators would like to sell more tours through travel agents, and in turn, agents can increase their business by having access to more tour operator-packaged travel,” Inman said. “We expect to see a gradual, steady growth of travel planner members, and we look forward to seeing them in Atlanta.”

About NTA: Founded in 1951, the National Tour Association is a global organization of packaged-travel professionals serving travelers to, from and within North America. For more information, visit NTAonline.com.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

National Tour Association Joins Engage Cuba’s Coalition

National Tour Association Joins Engage Cuba’s Coalition

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Engage Cuba is pleased to announce that the National Tour Association (NTA) has joined its leading coalition of businesses, associations and civil society organizations working to lift the travel ban and trade embargo on Cuba. NTA is a powerful player in the travel industry, moving more than 13.6 million travelers per year and buying more than $8.8 billion dollars of travel services annually.

“The National Tour Association is proud to join Engage Cuba and its partners with one goal in mind—lifting the travel ban for Americans,” said Pam Inman, NTA president. “The raising of the flag at the U.S. embassy in Havana in August represents how far we’ve come in restoring diplomatic ties between our two countries. Restricting travel between the United States and Cuba impacts both nations culturally and economically. The elimination of the travel ban would create new jobs in the United States and be an economic driver to U.S. travel businesses, such as tour operators, travel agents, airlines and transportation companies. We will continue to advocate for bilateral cooperation and the passing of legislation that would remove all existing travel barriers. NTA has always stood behind the freedom to travel, and it’s important that we’re putting our association-wide and grassroots-level support with Engage Cuba.”

James Williams, president of Engage Cuba, said, “NTA is an important addition to Engage Cuba. The path to normalize relations between the United States and Cuba is through travel, commerce and people-to-people contact, all areas where NTA offers a wealth of resources and expertise. NTA’s support for ending the travel ban builds on the vocal positions from other travel providers and associations within Engage Cuba’s rapidly expanding coalition, as well as 81% of Americans.  As the number of people traveling to Cuba continues to grow exponentially, American travel providers should be allowed to operate without burdensome restrictions. American travel to Cuba empowers people on the Island and our government should support these constructive people-to-people interactions.”


About Engage Cuba: Engage Cuba is a bipartisan 501(c)(4) public policy organization dedicated to coalescing and mobilizing American businesses, non-profit groups and concerned citizens for the purpose of supporting the ongoing U.S.‐Cuba normalization process and enacting legislation to reform U.S. travel and trade restrictions with Cuba. To learn more visit engagecuba.org.

About NTA: The National Tour Association was founded in 1951 and is now the leading association for packaged travel professionals (representing more than 40 countries) interested in the North American market. For more information, visit NTAonline.com and follow the association on Twitter at @NTAnews.
  

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

2016 to be "U.S. - China Tourism Year"

Article excerpt:


U.S. – China Tourism Year

Throughout the year, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), in collaboration with Brand USA and other partners, will design and execute a year of events and activities that will promote and further open travel between the United States and China, expand market access, and advance initiatives to ensure a quality visitor experience for increasing numbers of travelers to and from both nations


Read full story at:

http://ftnnews.com/other-news/28603-2016-is-set-to-be-u-s-china-tourism-year.html

Friday, October 2, 2015

NTA Facilitates Growth of Chinese Inbound Travel

The National Tour Association played a prominent role in the China-inbound market at the U.S.-China Tourism Leadership Summit in Los Angeles earlier this month.

"Everyone is very excited about the growth in Chinese visitors to the U.S.," said Nick Hentschel of AmericanTours International (ATI), an NTA member based in Los Angeles, who spoke at the U.S.-China Tourism Leadership Summit on September 9. "As a service industry dedicated to the passenger experience, we should be building a bridge between our two nations."

That bridge-building, Hentschel explained, includes continued engagement by the two governments, Brand USA, and tour companies participating in NTA's China Inbound Program. "Following the 'rules of the road' set out by NTA is not only good for building this bridge, it is also good for business in the long run."

NTA President Pam Inman led a panel discussion focused on increasing multidestination U.S. tours. "To ensure the best possible experience, tour operators must provide access to Chinese-speaking guides and materials in Chinese," Inman said. "Our China Inbound Program operators attest to compliance with policies and procedures for insurance, education, ethics, and safety."

NTA members and summit panelists Chris Babb of Washington, D.C.-based The Group Tour Company and Harry Chen of San Francisco-based Joy Holiday Tours spoke about the increasing popularity of independent travel by Chinese visitors and the emergence of U.S. destinations beyond gateway cities.

Inman participated in the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, held during the summit, alongside representatives from The U.S. Department of Commerce and the China National Tourism Administration. Haybina Hao, NTA's director of international development, updated the commission on NTA tour operators' achievements in the China inbound market. Enrollment in NTA's China Inbound Program reached 200 operators this year, and the association coordinated familiarization trips in New Orleans and the Washington, D.C., area. In May, Inman and Hao led a U.S. delegation to China, where the group met with government officials and NTA members.

When NTA launched its China Inbound Program in 2008, fewer than a half-million Chinese citizens visited the United States. Since 2008, NTA has been entrusted by the U.S. and Chinese governments to vet U.S. tour companies that handle the leisure group market from China. Last year inbound Chinese visitation overall rose 21 percent. Visitation topped the one million mark in 2011, and by last year it doubled again, when nearly 2.2 million Chinese visitors traveled to the United States. By 2019, China is projected to become the third-largest U.S.-inbound market, sending some 4.9 million visitors.

- See more at: http://groupstoday.com/news/423-nta-facilitates-growth-of-chinese-inbound-travel#sthash.9Gp4oA6g.dpuf

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

NTA AND FAMILY TRAVEL EXPERT TO LEAD PDT TO WESTERN CANADA

NTA Media Release

Tour operators looking to expand their offerings of multigenerational travel can find beauty and adventure in western Canada this fall, when the National Tour Association leads a product development trip to British Columbia and Alberta. The Oct. 3-11 program allows tour operators to explore an array of family-focused experiences and destinations in the two provinces, ranging from world-class cities and scenic railways to mountain adventures and the Canadian Rockies.


Accompanying the PDT will be family travel expert Nancy Schretter, founder of Family Travel Network, an award-winning online magazine and website. With stops in Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia; Jasper National Park and Edmonton, Alberta, the trip offers cool destinations in a hot market, according to NTA President Pam Inman.

"Western Canada is loaded with family-travel opportunities, and Nancy is an exceptional resource in what's become a lucrative travel segment," Inman said. "This PDT unites tour operators with distinctive destinations and ties it all together with energy and expertise. It's what NTA is all about."

And the PDT is all about variety. "Alberta's diverse experiences allow tour operators to package inspiring, entertaining programs for families," said Bart Donnelly of Travel Alberta. "From traveling by tram for stunning views of the Canadian Rockies to taking a float tour and spotting wildlife in one of our national parks, there's something spectacular for the whole family. And our gateway cities provide easy access from across North America and offer an urban adventure with nature on the doorstep."

British Columbia also offers a wealth of diverse experiences. "Vacations should be fun, and we take fun seriously in British Columbia, whether you want to hike a mountain, take a wine country tour, tackle the rapid waters or simply enjoy a relaxing sunset on the beach," said Sandy Reid of Destination British Columbia. "Because we're nestled between the Pacific Ocean and Canada's Rocky Mountains, British Columbia is a year-round playground where families will find activities for all ages."

For the itinerary and application, visit the PDT web page on NTAonline.com. The Family Travel PDT to Alberta and British Columbia is the latest in a series of trips organized by NTA to help its North American-based tour operator members match upward-trending markets with desirable destinations. In recent years NTA has led trips to Ethiopia, Germany/Czech Republic, Morocco and the Holy Land (Jordan and Israel). To learn more about multigenerational travel, follow this link to NTA's resource guide.

Wellness Travel: Discovering inventory and clients in an emerging market (by Travel Market Report)

Travel Market Report


Opening excerpt:
According to Stanford Research Institute, the wellness industry is worth $494 billion worldwide, responsible for more than 12 million direct jobs and accounts for nearly 15% of all tourism spending.


Read full story at:
http://www.travelmarketreport.com/articles/Wellness-Travel-Discovering-Inventory-and-Clients-in-an-Emerging-Market



Monday, May 11, 2015

PBS News Hour Features Story on Israeli-Palestinian Tours

Article title:
Meet two Holy Land tour guides who bridge the Israeli-Palestinian divide

Article link:
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/meet-two-holy-land-tour-guides-bridge-israeli-palestinian-divide/


My comment:
The two Holy Land tour companies and ladies featured in the story are travel industry colleagues and friends of mine. Watching the PBS story is very powerful and enriching.

Active Family Travel: A Niche Within a Niche (Travel Market Report)

Article link:
http://www.travelmarketreport.com/articles/Active-Family-Travel-A-Niche-Within-a-Niche?articleid=13658


Quote from article:

More product
The good news for agents researching active family travel is that tour operators have increased their product lines.

“Growing numbers of families want to experience this type of active travel, especially in the summer,” said Jaclyn Leibl-Cote, director of strategic product for Collette.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Morgan Maravich joins the National Tour Association

View article:
http://groupstoday.com/news/345-maravich-named-to-new-post-at-nta 


The National Tour Association today announced that Morgan Maravich has been named as the organization's industry and member engagement manager. In her new role, Maravich will work to strengthen participation in leadership, education, events and international markets, and she will conduct industry outreach to bolster membership and event attendance.

"Morgan is well-connected in our industry, and she can use her knowledge to increase NTA members' involvement with the association," said Pam Inman, NTA president. "She has just the right amount of enthusiasm and insight to help members maximize their NTA experience."

Maravich, who began her NTA duties last week, will work primarily from her home in Washington, D.C. She will also represent NTA at industry events and meetings throughout North America.

"I have always regarded NTA as a leader in the tour and travel marketplace, and I'm excited to bring an industry perspective to the association," Maravich said. "As a former member, I found NTA to be valuable in helping grow my market segments and gaining new business, so I'm delighted to help members take advantage of NTA's many benefits and opportunities. "

Prior to joining the NTA staff, Maravich served as manager of tourism sales for Destination DC. She received the 2015 Tourism Industry Contribution Award from the Guild of Professional Tour Guides of Washington, D.C. A graduate of George Mason University, Maravich has been involved with several industry associations and served on NTA's Young Professionals Advisory Committee.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Tourism Minister meets Vatican delegation over promoting tourism in Egypt

Opening of article:

Tourism Minister Khaled Ramy met on Sunday with Monsignor Liberio Andreatta, head of the Vatican-related pilgrim agency, Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, considered to be the tourism ministry of the Holy See.



Read full article here:

http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/tourism-minister-meets-vatican-delegation-over-promoting-tourism-egypt

Monday, April 27, 2015

L.A. museums sign on to 'China Ready' program in bid to draw tourists (Los Angeles Times)

Here's story from Los Angeles Times about local museums signing on to "China Ready" programs:

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/la-et-cm-ca-chinese-arts-tourists-20150419-story.html#page=1


Celebrating Life's Milestones: It's a Growing Business (Travel Market Report)

Very insightful article by TravelMarketReport.com on the growing trend of traveling with a group to celebrate "life's milestones". I definitely foresee this becoming a major form of group travel in the coming years and more tour operators coming out with brochures, itineraries and programs specific to this type of travel:

http://www.travelmarketreport.com/articles/Celebrating-Lifes-Milestones-Its-a-Growing-Business?articleid=13595


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Travel's Best Family Adventures 2015

Here's a list of The Travel Channel's best family adventures based on picks from top experts such as Nancy Schretter of the Family Travel Network.

Link:
http://www.travelchannel.com/interests/travels-best/photos/travels-best-family-adventures-2015-pictures 


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

ADVENTURE TRAVEL: A GROWING, BUT UNTAPPED, MARKET FOR AGENTS

by Barbara Peterson with Travel Market Report


Link to article:

http://tinyurl.com/adventure-travel-report-2015



Opening excerpt:

dventure travel has vast potential for travel agencies. This year alone, tour operators specializing in this market expect business to be up around 23%, according to the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA).

In a presentation at the recent New York Times Travel Show, ATTA vice president of marketing and communications Casey Hanisko painted a picture of a strong and growing market that has yet to be fully tapped by agents.

Overall, the adventure travel market is worth about $263 billion a year worldwide, according to recent ATTA market research.



Read the rest of the article at:

http://tinyurl.com/adventure-travel-report-2015

Monday, February 9, 2015

NTA Has Big Plans for 2015 and Beyond

TOUR OPERATOR | NATIONAL TOUR ASSOCIATION (NTA) | DAVID COGSWELL | 

Opening excerpt:
The National Tour Association (NTA) wrapped up its annual conference, the Travel Exchange held in New Orleans Jan. 18-22., with its priorities and strategies in order, according to Pam Inman, named president of the National Tour Association last summer. NTA’s Travel Exchange was held in New Orleans Jan. 18-22.

Read the rest of the story at:
http://www.travelpulse.com/news/tour-operators/nta-has-big-plans-for-2015-and-beyond.html 



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Thursday, February 5, 2015

NEW! 2015 FoodTrekking Monitor - Food Tourism Industry Report

The following announcement is from the World Food Tourism Association:


NEW! 2015 FoodTrekking Monitor

We are pleased to announceour new 2015 FoodTrekking Monitor. The Monitor is a report on, and prognosis for, the world’s food and drink tourism industry. It is positioned as an annual report that will serve as a bellwether, or temperature check, on the industry as a whole, showing yearly change and growth. The report is a comprehensive assessment with new information never before assessed or published for the food and drink tourism industry. Its contents include:
  • Food and drink tourism industry trends for 2015
  • Findings from 2014 survey of food and drink tour operators
  • Prognosis for food and drink tourism industry in 2015
  • World Food Travel Association 2014 performance metrics

The first part of the Monitor featuring trends is free. The second part containing data from our survey of food and drink tour operators and prognosis for the industry is available for US$295. Order your copy of the Monitor here.



Wednesday, February 4, 2015

WHY TARGET HISPANICS? IT'S A GROWTH MARKET FOR AGENTS

One of the best articles on the Hispanic Travel Market was just written by by Marilee Crocker and published by Travel Market Report.

The article touches on the most recent Hispanic travel market study conducted by Think Now Research and presented by Mario X. Carrusco.

To read the full story click here: http://tinyurl.com/NTA-ThinkNowResearch-Hispanic

To learn even more about the Hispanic Travel Market, click here.



Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Watch You Tube Video of NTA's Travel Exchange 2015 Convention in New Orleans

It was an amazing week in New Orleans at Travel Exchange '15, Jan. 18-22. Check out all the business, education and fun shared by attendees on our week-in-review video.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Show Me the Money! Selling Sports Travel

With Super Bowl 2015 coming up this Sunday, here's an excellent article by Harvey Chipkin (with www.TravelMarketReport.com) on the growing industry of Sports Travel.

Article link: 
http://www.travelmarketreport.com/articles/Show-me-the-Money-Selling-Sports-Travel?articleid=12200


Opening excerpt:

You don’t have to be a sports fan to tap into the growing and lucrative sports travel market, according to tour operators specializing in that niche and the travel agents who sell their products.

Sports tour operators are available to sell any event -- from the Super Bowl to a regular season baseball game to the Kentucky Derby. While operators have pre-defined packages available, they can also customize programs for fans who might, for instance, be alumni of a particular school.



Thursday, January 15, 2015

Analysis of Religious Tourism

Check out our discussions and interviews with Natalie Hami of TTG Mena (ttgmena.com) on the topic of religious tourism.

You can view the article by clicking on either of following links:
http://digital.ttgmena.com/digital-book/278-January/index.html#p=32
http://www.ttgmailbox.com/Latest-issue/2015/278-January/index.html


To view the full issue publication, visit here:
http://digital.ttgmena.com/digital-book/278-January/index.html