IITA Insights Newsletter - October 25, 2017
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Spring may be a time for new beginnings, but autumn brings us an opportune time for reflection and renewal. That turned out to be the case as your IITA Board spent several days recently examining the progress of your association and work yet to be done.

An important step any association can take is to learn to speak with one voice. That can only be accomplished when leadership has come together to identify priorities and opportunities. Your Board was hard at work doing just that during our recent retreat. In doing so, we have developed three key messages to provide a foundation for speaking with one voice and explaining to others why they would want to get involved in the association.

The first key message developed by your Board is that, “IITA, the International Inbound Travel Association, offers the most trusted and valuable insider information on U.S. travel destinations and services.” A key point in this message is the intentional use of the word “insider.” It tells you that by coming together under the umbrella of the association, we are able to establish a knowledge base not easily duplicated elsewhere.

The second message adopted by your Board is, “IITA members offer the deepest expertise and in-depth local knowledge of the real, authentic American travel experience, geared for the international traveler.” In addition to again alluding to the advantages of insider knowledge, this message also speaks of the need to focus not just on “first-tier” locations, but on the vast and varied destinations stretching the breadth of the country.

The final key message is, “Membership in IITA connects operators, suppliers and destinations focused on inbound international travel. We provide insider knowledge and education on best travel practices, and advocacy on issues that matter to the inbound industry.” This message was crafted to remind us not only of the industry sectors playing a role in establishing and growing the association, but also the benefits available to those associated with IITA: relevant education, insider knowledge and advocacy for the inbound industry.

I hope these key messages help you communicate to others the advantages of being associated with IITA. While we may aspire to speak with one voice, it is the individual voices at work internally that build your association.

One last note: at the close of our recent meeting, I asked each Board member to provide me with five ideas that should be included on a list of etiquette for visiting our country’s national parks. If you have ideas that you would like to include please forward those to me at Thank you!
-Gary Schluter, Chairman
 Rocky Mountain Holiday Tours

2018 IITA Summit
February 4-7, 2018
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Attention Inbound Operators: 

Nominations for the 2018 IITA Stanley Awards are now open. Nominate a deserving company today! Email for more information. 

Click here to review 2018 IITA Summit Sponsorship Opportunities or contact Toby Bishop to design your custom package today!
Join the IITA Board of Directors

The IITA Board of Directors is currently seeking applications for the 2018 - 2020 term, to begin on March 1, 2018. Anyone wishing to be nominated by the appointed Nominating Panel should complete the Board of Directors Application prior to November 10. For more information on the Board of Directors and the vacant seats, please refer to the IITA Bylaws. Any Member wishing to serve as an officer of the association must first have served as a director.

  • Chairman - Must be a U.S. Inbound Operator
  • Vice - Chairman - Must be a U.S. Inbound Operator 
  • Secretary - May be a U.S. Inbound Operator or Sustaining Member
  • Treasurer - May be a U.S. Inbound Operator or Sustaining Member
  • Director - U.S. Inbound Operator (4)
  • Director - U.S. Tour Operator
  • Director - Hotel Representative
  • Director - DMO Representative
  • Director - Transportation Company Representative
  • Director - Restaurant/Attraction Representative
Board applications must be completed by November 10. 

Apply Now
Advocacy Committee: IITA Supports Open Skies Agreements

The Advocacy Committee is continuing to fight for regulation that will support our members. Two years ago, IITA filed comments with the federal government, requesting it refrain from revisiting Open Skies agreements and not move ahead with a request from the legacy air carriers – Delta, United, and American Airlines – to formally reopen negotiations with the nations of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Note that at the time, we were operating under our former name: the Receptive Services Association of America.
Today, we continue to believe any effort to freeze new flights under existing Open Skies agreements between the U.S. and other countries would have a detrimental impact on the travel community throughout the U.S.

As the leading trade association made up of inbound travel companies, hotels and destinations, we remain highly concerned about the public campaign these same legacy airlines continue to wage, making potentially false or inflated claims regarding job loss, all in pursuit of eliminating competition through legal agreements long enshrined as pillars of competition, and of benefit to travelers and countries alike. 
In fact, we believe any change in the current Open Skies Agreements will have a cascading effect that will harm all businesses touched by the travel and tourism industry. This dramatic impact will have a profound negative effect on our nation’s balance of trade, impact thousands of small businesses, and affect over 1 million U.S. jobs.

Given these threats, 
IITA is working with US Travel to gain lawmakers’ support of a bipartisan letter to be sent to the Trump Administration, requesting they exhaust all existing tools at the Department of Transportation in addressing complaints brought forth by the legacy airlines.  Through these long-established mechanisms, our government can look into any potential violations of the agreements and then make appropriate recommendations. 

If you would like to assist with this grassroots effort, please let us know and we will provide you with a sample letter to use in contacting your representatives.
Strong Dollar vs. Stricter Visas vs. Global Political Rejection
By: Stephen B. Richer, DC Correspondent

The U.S. Department of Commerce has recently announced that inbound tourism to the United States was down 700,000 visitors in the first three months of 2017, with the steepest drops coming from countries in the Middle East and Africa, which sent about one-fourth fewer visitors than just two years ago. The overall drop represented a 4 percent decline from the same period in 2016.
Comparatively, Europe was down 10 percent and Mexico 7 percent. Asian markets were less affected. Africa and the Middle East account for small segments of the inbound market, which is why the drop was not steeper.
The loss for the first quarter in real spend was $2.7 billion and could reach $18 billion for 2017 if trends continue.
The first downward movement in recent years has leading travel industry organizations analyzing this result.

Read More Here

2018 IITA Summit Early-Bird Registration Ends Oct. 31!
There's less than one week left to register for the 2018 IITA Summit and still receive Early Bird savings. Don't miss out on your chance to save hundreds! Find the schedule of events here and register today.  

Registered Inbound Operators:
  • AlliedTPro
  • Amadeo Travel Solutions 
  • America 4 You, LLC
  • Bonotel Exclusive Travel
  • Columbia Crossroads Tours
  • Cosmopolitan Incentives
  • Hotelbeds USA Inc.
  • JTB USA Inc
  • Kintetsu International Express
  • Rocky Mountain Holiday Tours 
  • TeamAmerica Inc.
  • TourMappers North America, LLC
  • Tours Limited
  • Travalco USA, Inc.
  • TravelAdvocates
NEW! Inbound Operator Rebate Program Click Here to Learn More!
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Nestled in the heart of downtown Portland, Oregon – recently named as one of the ‘Places to Go in 2017’ by The New York Times –  this predominantly all-suite hotel offers exceptional levels of convenience and service. Built in 1912, the building combines original architecture and features with modern comfort, and is only two blocks from the city’s Max Light Railway System. The hotel is also the only Embassy Suites by Hilton that is a member of 
Historic Hotels of America.

IITA Summit Room Rates – Must Book Before January 15th! 
Standard Single – $189.00 ++/night

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Group Code: IIT
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2018 IITA Summit Silent Auction

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We are asking each of our members to thoughtfully consider how you can make a difference. Please donate a package to the 2018 IITA Summit Silent Auction - Complete Form

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