After two years of building expertise and enthusiasm for faith-based tourism, NTA reports it is leading tour operators to the Holy Land on a 2013 product development trip (PDT).
The members-only trip, Feb. 10 through 22, features significant sites throughout Israel and Jordan, but also includes workshops and opportunities for participants to network with local suppliers.
“This is a key market for NTA tour operators, with billions of dollars of faith-based travel purchased annually by group leaders, religious leaders and consumers,” said Lisa Simon, NTA president.
The 13-day journey begins in Israel and takes participants to cities (Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Tel Aviv and Nazareth), through the Judean Desert and the Dead Sea. From Israel, the group will enter Jordan and visit Amman, Petra, Madaba and Aqaba, along with Biblical sites.
Paul Larsen, chair of NTA’s Faith Tourism Advisory Council and president of Ed-Ventures in Rochester, Minn commented: “These are unique, profitable, and growing markets that are not limited to just the faith-based niche.”
The Holy Land PDT is designed to provide tour operators firsthand experience of new products and services in the Holy Land along with opportunities to form partnerships with other tour operators and to interact with faith-based market leaders.
About 40 percent of NTA operators are developing faith-based product, said Simon. “At the same time, we’re adding tourism revenues and visitors to the Holy Land and providing new business for receptive operators and suppliers in the region.”
Over the past two years, NTA says it has taken a leadership role in the faith-based travel market. After spotlighting faith-based destinations and product at its 2010 convention, NTA formally launched its faith-based travel program the following year and hosted a Faith-based Tourism Leaders Forum at its convention in Las Vegas.
At the NTA Travel Exchange, January 20-24 in Orlando, Fla., NTA said it will conduct a forum and a faith-based travel educational seminar.