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May 10, 2016 Newsletter
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2016 - The U.S.-China Tourism Year

Are you China-Ready? We hear that question a lot these days because China is one of the world’s largest outbound tourism markets and the 6th largest international market to the U.S., according to the National Travel and Tourism Office. The U.S. is expecting nearly three million Chinese visitors this year.
The U.S. and Chinese governments declared 2016 The U.S.-China Tourism Year, which is being led by the Department of Commerce (DOC) and the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA). The agreement is designed to effectively position the United States and China for increased trade in travel services and recognizes the value of travel and tourism for economic growth. This year the two countries will focus on three mutually beneficial areas:

  • Enhanced travel and tourism experiences
  • Enhanced cultural understanding
  • Enhanced appreciation of natural resources
Brand USA has created a microsite for The U.S.–China Tourism Year where you can post your China related programs. If you are conducting China-related activities, events or initiatives that fit into the Tourism Year framework, you can submit them to Brand USA for inclusion on the site.
The China market has varying levels of maturity – from first-time travelers who want to see the iconic sites to travelers who have been here many times and are anxious to see more of middle America and lesser known destinations - so perhaps now is the time to get involved in this lucrative market.

  Is Your Destination China-Ready? 
Register for a free Southwest China Tourism Market Webinar to gain best practices on how to cater to Chinese visitors AND learn how to effectively market to Southwest China's growing travel market.
 
Thursday, May 19 | 8-9:30 p.m. (ET); 5-6:30 p.m. (PT)
Cost: FREE

This free webinar will cover the following topics:
Overview of Southwest China Outbound Travel & Tourism Market, Speakers: Consul General Raymond Greene and Commercial Consul Eric Hsu, U.S. Consulate Chengdu

Best Practices from China travel & hospitality industry experts on how to be China-ready
o How to receive Chinese guests in the hotel
o How to effectively cater to the local market in promoting your destination
o Southwest China tourists preferences and the impact of social media on Chinese tourists
For more information, please contact David Fiscus, david.fiscus@trade.gov or 801-524-3092.
Chairman's Corner:

National Parks 2016
This year the National Parks are having an “event” type year due to the Centennial Celebration of the National Park Service. The major parks, like Yellowstone, Grand Canyon and Yosemite are receiving more demand than ever. This is much like the experience we had in 2015 with the 75th Anniversary of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally here in the American West.  It is important for us to learn to work with this influx in demand until things settle down again next year.

Here are some suggestions on what we are doing:

1.Use Neighboring Communities
Once the park lodges are full there are nearby communities that will be happy to accommodate overflow. You will certainly see increased rates, some higher than the park lodges. We have suggested to all of our partners that they send their guests during off peak periods.
 
2. Recommend Lesser Known Parks
Having just visited Lassen Volcanic Park and Oregon Caves National  Park these lesser known parks are a great alternative to the major parks. Just as beautiful but, with less demand these parks have a lot to offer. Some state parks even offer alternatives to the more traveled routes.

3. Be Aware of Other Impacts 
The next solar eclipse will occur on Mon, Aug 21, 2017. Though short in time the eclipse is causing areas to be fully booked very early and at inflated rates. Look around—some great deals can be found just a short drive away.
 

4. Set Realistic Expectations
The most important thing to remember is to set realistic expectations. The parks will be crowded and prices will be high but, if we manage expectations we will all come out on top. Under promise and over deliver.

Good luck! Let's work together to refer our partners to the best alternatives possible.

-Gary Schluter
IPW Update
We look forward to seeing you at IPW! IITA will have a booth (#1476) in the partner pavilion where we will be sharing information about the major changes that have refocused the association. Please visit us there! We are asking that all IITA members proudly display IITA signs in their booth. Please fill out this sheet with your name, company and booth information. We will deliver an IITA sign to you onsite.  
IITA Membership Renewal
2016 - 2017 IITA membership renewal forms were mailed last week. You will find that the renewal forms include the company information we have on file for you. If any information is missing or incorrect, please return the form with updated information, along with your payment. Memberships not renewed will expire on June 30, 2016.   
Registration for the 2017 Summit will open with early-bird rates in June! Start planning now to attend. The annual Summit is one of the most anticipated events of the year. This boutique event brings together inbound tour operators and U.S. suppliers for one-on-one appointments, networking and fun in a way that larger events can't. If you have never attended Summit this is the year!   
Is there a topic you'd like to see covered in the IITA Newsletter? Care to share your expertise with your collegues - let us interview you. Email us your ideas!