NTA Reports Strong Finish for Year, Forecasts Continued Growth

Along with a positive outlook for 2011, a new survey of NTA members from the association's Fourth Quarter 2010 Economic Snapshot found 2010 was a year of recovery for many members — tour operators, destination marketing organizations (DMOs) and tour suppliers.

Among NTA tour operators, 30 percent reported sales increases of between 10 and 24 percent in the last quarter of 2010; another 11 percent reported increases up to 10 percent, and 28 percent reported sales volume as unchanged. Some operators hit home runs to close out the year: 9 percent reported increases of 25 to 50 percent, and 3 percent saw increases of more than 50 percent.

NTA's Destination Management Organizations (DMO) members also had good news to report. The number of DMOs who saw an increase in visitors jumped 37 percent over the second quarter of 2010, going from 51 percent to 70 percent. Tour suppliers remained relatively flat from the second quarter to the fourth quarter last year, with 55 percent reporting increases in the second quarter and 53 percent reporting the same in the fourth quarter 2010.

When asked to project their sales volume for the first quarter of 2011 compared to 2010, tour operators were optimistic, the NTA said. Although 39 percent estimate sales volume will be unchanged over the same quarter of 2010, 43 percent predict growth: 14 percent are projecting an increase of up to 10 percent, 24 percent foresee increases between 10 and 24 percent, and five percent project big increases of 25 to 50 percent. Add to that another three percent who believe they'll experience a 50 percent increase or more over the previous year, and these projections surpass the operators' reported sales volume of the first quarter 2010.

Both DMO and supplier member projections for the first quarter of 2011 put them above the visitor numbers reported for first quarter 2010. For DMOs, though 40 percent believe their visitation will remain unchanged, another 40 percent expect increases of up to 10 percent, and 13 percent expect gains of between 10 and 24 percent, NTA said.

On the supplier front, 20 percent believed they will see at least a 10 percent increase in the number of visitors, 17 percent are projecting increases of between 10 and 24 percent, and 8 percent foresee gains between 25 and 50 percent. Just over a third (37 percent) expected their number of visitors will be unchanged.

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