IITA Insights Newsletter - September 13, 2017
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I hope and pray that personally everyone has been able to come thru the events of the past few weeks without any severe damage. Between Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, as well as the wildfires out West we know some of our most beloved destinations face a long road ahead. IITA has set up a web-page to bring you resources with the latest information on impacted locations. If you have information or resources to contribute please contact us.  

Through our work with Tourism Cares the monies raised for the silent auction at Summit will go to help the cities affected by these terrible disasters. Please consider how you can help by donating items to the auction, bidding on packages or donating directly to Tourism Cares. 
Last week I was in Washington, D.C. attending the US-Travel and Tourism Advisory Board (TTAB) meeting at the Department of Commerce.  When we met with Secretary Ross in March he had given the direction to provide suggestions on how the Department of Commerce, coordinating departments and the tourism private sector could work together to continue to make America a welcoming destination and continue to increase the number of visitors coming to the United States each year. The Obama Administration set a goal to have 100 million visitors by 2021. We are currently coming up about 30 million visitors short in that timeframe. Secretary Ross tasked the TTAB with examining this goal, setting a new timeframe and giving him definite working points on how we might achieve these goals. 

I suggested that if we are to add an additional 30 million visitors to the U.S. over the next 5-8 years (2022-2025) we must coordinate efforts with Brand USA to continue to expand their marketing efforts for the secondary and tertiary travel destinations. For example, many inbound travelers are looking to visit our  beautiful National Parks—and the parks are trying to find ways to control the crowds of visitors that are already present. This can be done by putting more emphasis on traditional markets to get previous visitors looking for new experiences. 

The issue of temporary work visas for the park concessionaires and many of the amusement parks, etc... also came up. We will be asking our Advocacy Committee to take a look at this issue and asking our members to contact your congressional delegations in the coming months for support for Brand USA, worker visas, and infrastructure.
And again, between water in the East and South and Fires in the West….let us all keep our members (and everyone in the travel industry) in our thoughts and prayers and help out in any way that we can.

-Gary Schluter, Chairman
 Rocky Mountain Holiday Tours

October 11-13, 2017
Arival: The In-Destination Event
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2018 IITA Summit
February 4-7, 2018
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Registration for the 2018 IITA Summit Opens September 19th! 
2018 IITA Summit 
Registration for the 2018 IITA Summit will open on September 19th! Please be on the lookout for an email from TravTrade with important registration information. Early Bird discounts will run through October 31st! Register early to save and secure your spot in the marketplace.

There are also many sponsorship opportunities still available. The IITA Summit is a unique event that allows you to target your key audience for major impact. Click here to see what opportunities are still available. Thank you to the following partners who have committed their support:

  • Travel Portland
  • Travel Oregon
  • Best Western Hotels and Resorts
  • Brand USA
  • Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority
  • Wyndham Hotel Group
  • NYC & Company
  • Visit Rochester, NY
  • Planet Hollywood
  • Embassy Suites by Hilton Portland Downtown
  • Mississippi Gulf Coast   
Attention ITO - Brand USA Seeking Applications

Brand USA is seeking applicants for three Board seats that will expire later this year, two for which inbound operators would be eligible. This is an excellent opportunity to get the voice of the inbound operator – the businesses bringing in the international visitors – into the strategy conversation.
Click here to view the Federal Register Notice soliciting applicants for 3 Brand USA Board seats that will expire later this year; two represent categories for which inbound operators could be eligible:  1. the travel distribution services seat, and 2. small business/retail.
Brand USA is working to strengthen its product offerings, now is the perfect time for an operator to be seated on this Board. Please let us know if you’re interested and/or plan to apply for a Brand USA Board seat. The deadline to apply is September 29, 2017.
Tourism Cares Relief Fund

In the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the North American travel and tourism industry is calling for donations to the Destination Disaster Recovery Fund to speed the restoration of communities and the livelihoods they support.

Led by the industry’s charitable community, Tourism Cares, the Fund supports the three regions
most affected: the Caribbean, the Texas Gulf Coast and the hardest hit parts of Florida and the
Keys. The Fund will complement the outpouring of relief aid by focusing on the recovery of
tourism sites and communities; leveraging not just industry donations but also its talent and
influence; and is in partnership with local leaders such as the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism
Association and the Texas Travel Industry Association.

“These disasters have ripple effects across our entire industry. Tourism Cares provides an effective conduit for offering assistance and lessening impacts to tourist destinations directly affected,” said Lisa Simon, Executive Director, Inbound International Travel Association. “These destinations are important to our international guests. IITA is happy to join Tourism Cares and our sister associations in the recovery effort to return these areas to thriving tourism communities.”

The Fund’s program strategy will be determined once local needs are fully assessed and will
include these approaches tailored to industry companies and communities: 
  • Physically restoring vulnerable sites and attractions
  • Investing in social enterprises so tourism fully benefits those most in need
  • Training and workforce development, especially for displaced or temporarily out-of-work
    professionals with the most to gain
  • Building capacity for tourism and cultural nonprofits, so impacted organizations come
    back stronger
  • Promoting recovery tourism through marketing and engaging travel industry buyers
“The power of giving and the courage of communities can be greater than the disaster itself,” said
Mike Rea, CEO of Tourism Cares and an expert in disaster philanthropy. “Tourism is going to play
a major role in restoring the places we love, as well as livelihoods and purpose once basic needs
are met. The recovery phase is long, hard and usually underfunded – together we can change that
to truly have destinations build back better.”

Tourism Cares brings leadership and experience to its stewardship of the Fund: a Board of
Directors spans the industry; staff expertise in disaster response dating to the Southeast Asia
Tsunami and includes volunteer efforts after Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy; most
recently it successfully concluded its Nepal Recovery Fund.
Click Here to Donate to the Destination Disaster Recovery Fund
Natural Disasters Might Have Major Impact on Inbound Travel
By: Stephen B. Richer

Our hearts go out to those affected by natural disasters in recent weeks, whether hurricanes in Texas, Florida and the southeast, and the Caribbean or fires in the Pacific Northwest. To offer support to our members in those areas, we created a Resource Page on our website with links to sites that can provide operators and the travel trade with the latest information in the affected areas.
One needs only to observe media in the United States to understand how natural disasters can dominate the news.  Many countries, who might have growing economies, improving government services, and excellent tourism attractions and services, will usually see very limited media coverage--particularly in a big nation like the United States with so much national news--unless there are occurrences of natural disasters, huge accidents, or--worse--incidents of terrorism.  In recent years, all of us can recall examples of major storms, airplane crashes, and suicide bombings which fit this description of major media coverage.
The past few weeks have put North America into the view of global media attention, thanks to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, as well as a record breaking earthquake impacting three states in Mexico and fires in the Pacific Northwest.  Key tourism destinations and lots of airports have been dramatically impacted by all this media coverage.  It is certain that a lot of business has been altered or lost.

Click Here to Read More.

Welcome New Advisory Board Members
Sandi Lackey
Best Western Hotels and Resorts
Flavia Light
Disney Destinations, LLC
Meire Ramos
Marriott International
Monica Smith
Visit Jacksonville

IITA is proud to be an Association Partner with
Arival, the In-Destination event taking place in Las Vegas, October 11-13.
Inbound tour operators need to understand this sector of the travel industry. Attendees are day tour operators, activities providers, attractions, and experiences. More and more of your clients are requesting interesting and authentic one-day experiences and Arival introduces you to 100's of suppliers. Do you know how to work with them?
DMOs are an important part of this eco-system. The suppliers help to draw travelers to your destination, creating a win/win relationship. DMOs help suppliers (and there is a featured session - "Working with your DMO"). As a DMO, you need to understand this business better. 
Arival features amazing speakers, practical workshops, and fantastic networking -- everything you need to get your company more engaged with these suppliers. This is the first event designed specifically for tour operators, activity providers, and in-destination experiences, come and learn how they can impact your business
Are you interested in becoming a Summit Sponsor? Click here to review 2018 IITA Summit Sponsorship Opportunities or contact Toby Bishop to design your custom package today!