IITA Insights Newsletter - March 15, 2017
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Last week I had the pleasure of attending ITB, the largest trade show in the world, which happens every March in Berlin. The show spans 26 buildings and brings together representatives from every corner of the earth, drawing  tens of thousands of travel professionals from all across Europe!  

Considering the current political climate in the USA as seen from a European point of view, I expected the show to be slower than the past, fortunately, I was wrong. While meeting with other tour operators we asked how they anticipated the 2017 season to shape up. Most said it would be a flat year. The reason had little to do with what's been called the “Trump Slump”  and more to do with the value of the dollar. Although some members did hear rumblings of the "Trump Effect," the strong U.S. Dollar is a much greater factor to those deciding where to travel, what types of lodging might be used, and what add-ons they would book in advance. Additionally, the strong U.S. dollar has had a much longer time to effect travelers with their decision making. The weak Canadian Dollar and free admission to all Canadian National Parks, as 2017 is their parks 125th anniversary, is working against travel to the U.S. as well. Most inbound operators that I spoke with shared the same feedback from their appointments. A few DMO's commented on rumblings of the "Trump Effected" however, it seemed to be primarily from guest who tend to stay in one location and not the Fly-Drive clients.  While it is a little disheartening to hear about the strong  US Dollar impacting travel decisions, it was refreshing to hear that we are not facing a double whammy, at least from many European Markets.  

If you were not able to hear Ron Erdmann speak on the Forecast for International Travel, during Summit, I would encourage you to participate in his upcoming IITA webinar, April 5. Ron is a dynamic speaker who has lots of research-based knowledge to share. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn from him and ask questions!

-Gary Schluter, Chairman
 Rocky Mountain Holiday Tours

March 23 - 24
Tourism Cares for Oakland
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March 28-29
Destination Capitol Hill
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April 5
Forecast for International Travel Webinar
Register Here

April 19
Secure Tourism Summit
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May 11 - 12
Tourism Cares for Detroit
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June 3-7
IPW 2017
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2018 IITA Summit
February 4-7, 2018
Budget Politics
By: Stephen B. Richer
After two months of mostly rhetorical posturing and a series of delays on the most visible campaign promises, the Trump Administration is in the process of submitting its first federal budget.  In the corridors of Washington, DC, the term for this budget has been the "skinny" budget.
While most of the detail on the budget has not yet been revealed at the time of this article, a lot of significant discussion about what is anticipated has already occurred.  Why is this important to inbound tour operators?
The federal budget sets up many of the parameters about how government services will be delivered, whether there will be tax relief, and what priorities are going to be emphasized.  The perception of these decisions can have either direct or indirect impact on how inbound tour operator companies will function, whether there will be more profitability, and how the United States is seen as an attractive destination.
Two big items anticipated in the budget which will have some impact on the perception of the United States are the high visibility issue of constructing a wall on the Mexican border and an increase in the proposed defense budget of $54 million.  

Click here to read more. 
IITA Webinar: Forecast for International Travel 2017-2021
Wednesday, April 5
2:00 p.m. ET
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office provides products and services to enhance the international competitiveness of the U.S. travel and tourism industry and increase its exports, thereby creating U.S. employment and economic growth. This session will examine the U.S. inbound tourism forecast from the leading source countries and examine “up and coming” sources of leisure travelers to the United States. During this webinar attendees will also hear about what goes into the NTTO forecast and how it all is used together to develop the projections on travel to the U.S.
Ron Erdmann is the Deputy Director for Research at the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Travel & Tourism Office (NTTO).  He is responsible for the oversight and improvement of the Office’s seven international travel and tourism research programs.  These programs provide key market intelligence on the volume and characteristics of travelers to and from the United States.  Another responsibility he enjoys is working with industry users to provide practical marketing intelligence on how to effectively use research data to increase exports.  He serves as the Office liaison to the Travel & Tourism Advisory Board research sub-committee and the Tourism Policy Council research committee.  He is also part of the Commerce Team that developed and is now working to implement the National Travel & Tourism Strategy. 
Register Now: Forecast for International Travel 2017-2021 Webinar
On The Move
Last week, 
M&R Hotel Management announced the appointment of Laurie Oliver as regional director of travel industry sales, responsible for managing sales on behalf of the company’s 17 managed hotels to travel agents, wholesalers, consortia, tour operators, receptive operators and tour groups.

Oliver, a 40-year hospitality industry veteran, previously served Intercontinental Hotels Group as key account director, leisure and airline sales, where she managed and developed sales and strategic partnerships with large leisure wholesale accounts.
From 1982 to 1991, she served IHG as director, CMH Caribbean and Latin America. She began her career with IHG’s predecessor, Holiday Inn International, in 1977.
Oliver studied business at Nassau Community College, Garden City, New York, and served nine years as a board member of the International Inbound Travel Association, formerly the Receptive Services Association of America.  She also is a member of the American Bus Association, National Tour Association and HSMAI’s New York chapter.

Click to Read More
ITB Berlin

IITA Executive Director, Lisa Simon proudly represented the association at ITB last week. Chariman Gary Schluter and several other Board members were also attending. Their week was filled advocating for a safe and welcoming US, meeting with key partners such as Brand USA and recruting new members.

IITA members in attendance were given logo buttons to wear stating, "We Welcome You, Let us show you the way to the USA?" IITA is wokring to hard to help lay out the welcome mat for all international travelers. 
IITA in the News
Destination Capitol Hill: March 28-29, 2017

IITA is proud to support Destination Capitol Hill (DCH), the U.S. Travel industry's premier legislative fly-in. All IITA members are encouraged to participate in Destination Capitol Hill. Please click here to learn more.