Representatives from more than 30 National Tour Association (NTA) member companies convened in Washington, D.C., June 24-26, for NTA’s 2008 Grassroots Symposium. The Symposium included visits to more than 40 congressional offices to express concerns with the economic viability of the travel and tourism industry.
"Many of the members of Congress remembered us and our issues from last year," noted NTA Government Relations Committee Chairman Ed Dresel. "It was obvious that congressional staff did their homework and studied our issues before we arrived. There seemed to be a recognition of the importance of travel and tourism to the U.S. economy and image abroad that we haven't seen in past years."
Included in talks were the NTA’s call for an Executive Office of Travel and Tourism, the presidential election, and NTA’s revitalized Grassroots Action Network. Included were sessions with elected officials on current travel industry issues and a series of one-on-one meetings with congressional representatives. Representatives Jon Porter, R-NV., and Sam Farr, D-CA., co-chairs of the House Travel and Tourism Caucus, also spoke to NTA delegates about the importance of travel and tourism to the national economy and to America's image abroad.
“This year, NTA revitalized its Grassroots Action Network to become the travel industry's most comprehensive grassroots network,” said NTA Public Affairs Advocate Steve Richer. “This group includes professionals from all segments of the industry, not just NTA members. The Grassroots Symposium is a true example of the mission of the grassroots network — bringing the industry together to make our voice heard and get things done in Washington. As the grassroots network continues to grow, NTA strongly believes that together we can work in partnership with elected officials on industry issues and be a thunderous voice for the benefit of travel and tourism."