IITA Insights Newsletter - July 5, 2017
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Happy Independence Day!

Today marks the first business day of the new membership year, which runs from July 1 through June 30. If you have not renewed your dues yet, please do so immediately before your membership is terminated. Renew online or call IITA Headquarters for assistance.

Last week, US Travel Association hosted a meeting of industry associations to explore collaboration on common issues impacting our members. The group approved to move forward as an informal coalition, with the primary focus on highlighting the value of international travel to the U.S. economy and jobs and to press for a welcome message from the Trump Administration.

As for a policy agenda, we also agreed to include the travel ban, laptop restrictions, and Brand USA as areas for advocacy collaboration.  As a first order of business, we’ll send a joint letter to the Department of Homeland Security requesting monthly briefings for our coalition on actions taken by DHS that impact travel. We appreciate US Travel’s leadership in this initiative to coordinate a collective voice on inbound travel issues. We’ll keep you informed of progress as we move forward.

A new feature of this newsletter will be to include a section to help promote member activities, like events and fams. If you would like your activity included in the newsletter, please contact IITA Headquarters. 

Hope you all had a wonderful Independence Day celebration – have a great rest of the week!

-Gary Schluter, Chairman
 Rocky Mountain Holiday Tours

July 11, 2017
IITA Prospective Member Event
New York City

August 27-29, 2017
Destinations Group Travel Show and New York FAM Tour
More Information

February 4-7, 2018
IITA Summit
More Information
2018 IITA Summit
February 4-7, 2018
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Supreme Court Travel Ban Ruling Raises New Inbound Tourism Concerns

By Stephen B. Richer, CTP

An unsigned ruling by the United States Supreme Court last month to implement part of the Executive Orders issued by President Trump has created new questions about travel to the United States, and we’re seeking input from inbound operators.
A more comprehensive ruling is anticipated when the fall session of the Supreme Court begins in October.  In the meantime, travel from the six targeted countries--Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen--can only gain entry if they can demonstrate a “bona fide connection with a person or entity in the country,” which could include close relatives, proof of employment or enrollment  in an American university.

The Administration is defining close relatives as siblings, parents, children, sons or daughters-in-law, and fiances. Grandparents, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and cousins do not qualify.

More importantly, however, the visa granting practices of the Administration seem to be telling a story that acquiring a visa is becoming more challenging from many countries, not just the six listed in the Executive Orders.  While most of these reports on visa challenges are anecdotal at best, it affords international inbound operators the opportunity to document whether there has been a change in the ease of U.S. visa acquisition, based on current business information.

Along those same lines, the International Inbound Travel Association has just sent out a survey to operators to measure the impact of the travel ban on inbound tours. Please respond to the survey and, if appropriate, use the third question to report any information you have on visa acquisition challenges or even changing market interest in visiting the United States.  Any information will be extremely helpful in addressing changes that happen on visas, including working to draft and support legislation which improves any unjustified security measures should there be any in the opinion of our operator members.

It is anticipated that the visa issue and the continuation of funding for Brand USA will be the biggest items on the agenda of the travel industry for the remainder of 2017 and continuing into the next year.

International inbound tour operators have major information on both of these issues, due to their roles in servicing the inbound travelers to the United States.  Being prepared with as much specific feedback as possible will position IITA to assist the broader travel industry in its advocacy on these matters moving ahead.

DHS Drops Plan to Expand Laptop Ban In Favor Of Tighter Global Security

Airlines that comply with new DHS enhanced security measures, which include stricter passenger screening, will not be required to force passengers to check their laptops or other large electronics. Airlines operating in approximately 280 airports will be affected by the new rules, which will apply to roughly 2,000 international flights daily. Read More
National Park Service Seeks Travel Industry Input on Visitor Experience in Southern Louisiana

The National Park Service's New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park and Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve are developing a Commercial Services Strategy to assess current visitor services and consider possible new services. The two parks have sites throughout south Louisiana in New Orleans, Marrero, Chalmette, Thibodaux, Eunice, and Lafayette. Input from individuals, businesses, tourism agencies, and nonprofit organizations is crucial to the strategy process. Comments and questions can be shared via meetings, webinars, phone participation, or online. Information about the strategy and how to comment is available here.
Destinations Group Travel Show and New York FAM Tour

You're invited to join IITA member company ALON Marketing on a journey to discover a bountiful NY region virtually untouched by the international market. This 2-day FAM tour will treat attendees to new ideas and unique tour destinations for clients. This FAM tour is held in conjunction with the Destinations Group Travel Show. Dozens of exhibitors from around New York and the North East/Mid-Atlantic region at Turning Stone Casino for an intimate, free-flowing networking opportunity. 

The FAM tour will be Sunday, August 27th – Tuesday, August 29th out of Syracuse, New York. Airfare credit will be offered. More Information
NTTO Federal Register Notice on 2017 Fees

The U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration (ITA), National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) is raising the fees for 2017 data for the monthly, quarterly or annual data from the APIS/I–92 Program, the I–94 International Arrivals Program, and the annual custom reports, data tables or files from the Survey of International Air Travelers Program. As part of the fee review process, the NTTO is providing industry with the opportunity to comment on the fee schedule and to provide any suggestions for reducing the costs of NTTO programs. To find out more or provide comment, click here.