IITA Insights Newsletter - June 21, 2017
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Greetings from IITA on this first day of summer—and we certainly feel it here in Colorado with temps hovering around 100 degrees F today. 

Today, I wanted to return to IPW and the conversation I had with Donny Leadbetter and the National Parks Service. Although the NPS is looking for ways that we can work together, especially on communication issues, it is still the responsibility of each ITO to find out what new rules and regulations might be set in place for each of the National Parks. Each park has the ability to make changes to rules, regulations, and entrance fees on an individual basis.  However, each park is also to have at least an 18-month planning period before major changes are put into place. Donny is working on a website that will allow us to know when the parks are looking to make changes and when hearings will be held for public discussion on any changes and IITA will be looking to check this site frequently in order to also pass information along to our ITO members. But it is also the responsibility of each ITO to know the park regulations and fees. 

Some parks are starting to have Commercial Permitting fees (Arches) that each ITO must apply for before sending any commercial groups. With these, they need to have copies of insurance forms from the ITO as well as any transportation company you might be using when your groups enter these parks.  Some parks are changing their entrance fee system by no longer allowing company checks, allowing only payments by cash or credit card. Something you will need to know for your tour leaders!  My suggestion at this time for your 2018 planning is to check the website of each and every park where you may be sending a group to see about any fee requirements, cost changes, etc. In addition, contact each park directly to check on payment policies as these are not listed on the websites. 
In the meantime, IITA (Lisa and myself) will be working with Donny and the NPS to shore up communication and how we can all work together. I suggest we all look at our tour routes to see if there are other NPS-designated areas that may not be so popular, but still offer that great NPS experience—areas that we can begin to promote to our partners as alternatives for spending time.  Areas that offer a better NPS experience that will help to move some of the crowds away from the major park areas. At least for a short time!

-Gary Schluter, Chairman
 Rocky Mountain Holiday Tours

July 11, 2017
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Travel Industry Should Not Assume Continuation of Brand USA
By Stephen B. Richer, CTP
On Tuesday night, another attempt by Democrats to win a seat in the House of Representatives to fill a vacancy created by a Trump Administration appointee failed. Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, a Republican, defeated Jon Ossoff, a former Congressional staffer and a Democrat, in a runoff election. Ossoff had run 28% ahead of Handel in the original open primary and almost won the seat in that election, only missing a victory by 2%.  This was the Georgia seat previously held by Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price.
President Donald Trump and his policies were the subtext to this election, which cost close to 50 million dollars and set a new record for a Congressional race.  Trump himself got involved in the race by providing a message for robo-calls and sending tweets to stimulate a big turnout by his supporters. 

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International Visitor Spending in the United States: April 2017

The National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) recently announced thatinternational visitors spent an estimated $20.8 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States during the month of April, an increase of more than 3 percent when compared to April 2016. Passenger fares remain the only downward pull on total travel and tourism exports, but are now declining at a decreasing rate-down less than half a percentage-point when compared to the same period last year. As fuel prices continue to gravitate upward, so, too, should passenger fares receipts from international visitors and these fares will once again contribute favorably to our balance of trade.