We lost a long-time industry leader and friend this week – Jerry DiPietro passed away at his home Monday morning. Jerry was an early leader in our association serving on the Board and as Chairman from 2004 - 2007. He fought tirelessly to ensure that the receptive tour operator was understood throughout the industry and that our voices were heard in Washington. He moved us forward as an organization and an industry – we will miss him.
Judging from the trees here in Colorado, regretfully summer is coming to a close and the fall season is upon us. Still a lot of work for IITA as we work on several projects this fall. One of these is continuing to define our membership. Membership Committee Chair Peter Van Berkel (Travalco) has identified the diverse business models among inbound tour operators and some possible sub-categories, based on how ITOs work to bring international visitors to the USA—and how they service these guests while in the USA! It seems the list could be endless. So as we look toward the Summit 2017 in Biloxi MS, with the theme of Celebrating the Diversity in Tourism, it seems more and more that our portion of the tourism industry (Inbound) is one of the most diverse segments! We continue to define who we are and where these segments all fit together. One area where we CAN look to IITA to assist our members is in advocacy with our US congressional representatives. At this time the industry in Florida needs the help of the entire Tourism Industry to help Congress move on assistance to control the Zika virus! We all hoped that this would be something that moved quickly when Congress returned for the late summer recess…but it still is stalled. PLEASE let your representatives (Senate and House of Representatives) know that this IS an urgent matter for everyone in the Tourism Industry. It is a very simple process and will automatically go to your specific representatives. Take action now. On behalf of IITA, I thank you for your support!
-Gary Schluter, Chairman
Rocky Mountain Holiday Tours