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Onsite: USTOA Reports a Stable 2006, Elects New Board and Officers

December 11, 2006 By: Jennifer Merritt Travel Agent

PHOENIX--In a survey released by the United States Tour Operators Association Conference in Phoenix on Saturday, more than 60 percent of members reported strong growth through 2006, with tour operators achieving sales that surpassed those of 2000, which many considered a banner year. "It wasn't fantastic, but it was a good year," says Bob Whitley, president of USTOA. Western Europe tied with Central Europe, the Baltics and Russia for destination packages with the highest year-over-year growth in 2006, according to the survey and over 50 percent of USTOA members once again reported Italy as the top international destination for tours and packages. Domestically, California and the National Parks topped tour operators' lists for the first time. Meanwhile, the organization on Friday named its board of directors and officers for 2007. New board members include Ron Letterman, chairman of Classic Vacations; Ed Neer, president of Aberdeen Tours; John Stachnik, president of Mayflower Tours; Jim Barsch, senior vice president of Pleasant Tours; Charlie Ball, president of Princess Tours and Harry Dalgaard, executive vice president of marketing air, car and hotels for Rail Europe Group. Both Ball and Stachnik also were named officers for 2007 as vice chairperson and treasurer, respectively, joined by Nikos Tsakanikas, president and CEO of Homeric Tours, as chairperson and Kevin Eakin, president of Travel Connection as secretary.

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