Watch for the National Tour Association (NTA) to launch a new outreach program targeting Wall Street analysts and financial media to brief them on the contributions of tour operators and travel agents and the leisure travel business. A key goal will be to show the economic and job generating power of the travel industry. Total travel expenditures in the U.S. last year are estimated at $740 billion by the Travel Industry Association (TIA).
Spearheading the effort will be Steve Richer, public affairs advocate for the NTA. Based in Alexandria, Virginia, Richer works with Jim Santini, the NTA's legislative relations counsel and the NTA's leadership, headed by chair and CEO Bob Hoelscher. While few leisure travel companies are publicly owned, Richer believes that an integrated effort will pay dividends industry wide. This includes firms such as Carnival Corp. who are publicly traded.
Richer admits it's going to be slow going. Yet he believes that the NTA, working with the TIA, ASTA and others can get across the economic power of the leisure travel industry and the economic benefits of travel and tourism to states and cities. "This industry needs broad representation," he said.
A parallel outreach program targeting national tourist offices will accompany the Wall Street effort. The goal is to build awareness of the economic benefits of two-way trave--outbound and inbound--and to explore ways to expand markets. Also on the agenda: identifying barriers to international and cross-border travel, including government policies.
The program will support individual NTA members reaching out to develop new business in international markets for both inbound and outbound travel. They will also complement the NTA's efforts to expand domestic travel and its aggressive legislative relations program. This includes building awareness among presidential candidates of the industry and the formation of a cabinet level department of travel and tourism. Visit www.ntaonline.com. (GD)