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USTOA Strengthens Lobbying and CommunicationsJune 21, 2011 By: George Dooley Travel Agent
Terry Dale, president of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) announced the appointments of strategic partners to help elevate USTOA’s government advocacy on issues affecting tour operators and to strengthen its overall marketing and communications initiatives.
McBee Strategic, based in Washington, D.C., has been retained to provide counsel and to manage the association’s presence in the Capitol. The firm provides a wide range of consulting and strategic advice to clients trying to establish a presence in Washington and to effect change in the legislative and regulatory arena. McBee’s efforts will focus on legislation and administration actions that could affect USTOA, the association said. At McBee, Sam Whitehorn and Rob Chamberlin, both former senior Senate staff will be responsible for reporting directly to USTOA.
Dale also announced that USTOA has tapped Redpoint Marketing PR., Inc., as its public relations firm of record. Redpoint will work closely with Dale and the USTOA Marketing Committee to develop a strategic communications plan to promote the benefits of using a tour operator to travelers and travel agents with increased exposure in consumer and trade media.
Among the communications platforms will be positioning USTOA as the authoritative source on packages and tours to better educate the public about tours, vacations packages, independent itineraries and issues that affect travelers.
“These are exciting steps for USTOA and its members as we become a more proactive association,” said Dale in making the announcement. “The membership of USTOA represents leaders in the tour and travel industry, and with these added resources, collectively has the potential to become a powerhouse in shaping consumer perceptions and impacting decisions in Washington that could affect our industry,” he continued.
“It has always been a goal for USTOA to have a strong presence and voice on Capitol Hill,” added John Stachnik, USTOA Chairman. “Engaging a team of strategic lobbyists, along with a fresh approach to communications marks a major development in the evolution of USTOA as a leading association in the industry.”
Founded in 1972, the USTOA represents a membership comprised of companies whose tours, packages, and custom arrangements encompass the entire globe. As a voice for the tour operator industry, USTOA provides education and assistance for consumers and travel agents.
USTOA member companies have met the travel industry’s highest standards, including participation in the association’s Travelers Assistance Program, which among other things protects consumer payments up to $1 million if the company goes out of business. USTOA is the premier association of companies providing vacation packages, tours, and custom travel itineraries for more than 11 million people yearly.