National Tour Association Tour Operator Spring Meet Set to Kick Off in Kelowna
April 26, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Travel NewsApril 2007 / LEXINGTON, Ky. — The 2007 National Tour Association Tour Operator Spring Meet begins April 26 in Kelowna, British Columbia. This three-day event, designed for tour operators and receptive operators, offers business and education in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, recently named by Frommer's as one of its 12 "Top Travel Destinations for 2007."
The NTA Spring Meet provides numerous ways to build itineraries and package product. The Tour Operator Speed Dating session, sponsored by the Alaska Travel Industry Association, is designed to give tour operators and receptive tour operators a venue to introduce one another to their businesses. Mini business appointments allow attendees to quickly exchange product overviews and they can use the session to find new vendors to complete packages or sell product to each other. Spring Meet delegates also will have the opportunity to explore both the city and region directly during complimentary leisure excursions, sightseeing tours and familiarization tours.
"NTA is the association for product development. We pioneered the Speed Dating concept at the 2005 Spring Meet and its overwhelming success has led us to introduce the concept at our Annual Convention as well," said NTA Chairman and CEO Randy Julian. "This session helps tour operators quickly identify potential business partners in a way that no other industry event can."
Much of the NTA Spring Meet focuses on the latest research, professional development sessions and industry trends. One of the presenters who is part of this year's outstanding educational lineup is Paul Vitale of Vital Communications who will speak at two separate sessions. Vitale's first presentation will focus on quality customer service and his other session will look at the importance of uniting people for a common cause, understanding and respecting diversity and encouraging individuals through positive actions. Matt Thornhill, will speak to tour operators about how to communicate effectively with the baby boomer market. Thornhill has been featured on "CBS Evening News," "NBC Nightly News," CNBC and MSNBC. Marla Johnson Norris of Aristotle Inc. in Little Rock, Arkansas, also will speak in Kelowna. Norris will help tour operators learn new and creative online marketing ideas during her breakout session, "Opportunity Knocks — 25 Ways to Promote Your Travel Company Online."
Also during the Spring Meet, delegates can participate in a variety of leisure options such as golfing or wine tasting. The Thursday night Icebreaker event takes place at the Summerhill Pyramid Winery. Organic wines and locally inspired cuisine will be offered in a picturesque setting along Okanagan Lake. Friday night's event, "Cultural District Night … the Kelowna Story," includes information on the unique history of British Columbia's Okanagan region. Delegates will enjoy a progressive dinner reception in Kelowna's Cultural District, where delegates can sample fare from 12 group-friendly local eateries and beverages from eight local wineries, a local brewing company and a distillery.
Thanks to the association's generous sponsor and partner United Airlines, NTA offered the first 150 registered tour operators and receptive tour operators complimentary airfare from any U.S. airport serviced by United Airlines to either Seattle, Washington, or Vancouver, British Columbia.
Additionally, Tourism Kelowna is offering NTA Spring Meet attendees the opportunity to participate in their incentive program. Delegates may receive a rebate up to CDN$500 when they book a minimum of two consecutive nights (minimum of 35 room nights) in a Kelowna property with arrival prior to April 1, 2009.
The National Tour Association has a global membership of tourism professionals involved in the growth and development of the packaged travel industry. Its membership includes more than 600 tour operator companies — group, independent, inbound and outbound — and the destinations and suppliers that partner with them. The association is committed to providing business results and information to its members, while offering a collaborative, caring environment in which to build relationships. For more information, please visit www.NTA.travel