“We began talking with Matt quite a while ago,” Dale told media members afterward. “But his video for 2012 was already planned and we wanted to redesign our website before doing this, so the timing worked out perfectly to do this in 2013. My only problem now is trying to accommodate everyone who wants to be part of this. The response today has been overwhelming.”
“I’m excited about this new partnership with USTOA,” said Harding, who, in person, offers a compelling simplicity for such an Internet sensation. “The association and its members embrace the same principles of exploration and collaboration with people from all walks of life around the globe. I can’t wait to hit the road with them.”
Dale and his board also briefed their members in that opening session on the new economic impact research that has been completed for USTOA by PriceWaterhouseCoopers that shows USTOA operators generated more than $10 billion in economic impact in 2011 and are expected to generate more than $11 billion in 2012.
Gleaned from complete or partial participation by 80 percent of USTOA active members, the research also showed that the organization’s tour operators planned trips for more than 6 million travelers and employed more than 10,200 people within the United States in 2011. Significantly, 64.4 percent of member packages were sold by travel agents, establishing that industry’s continuing influence as travel sellers.
“As USTOA increases its advocacy role within the industry and in the nation’s capital, it is critical that we truly understand the economic footprint of our active members,” said Dale in a statement. “This vital information on sales, jobs, the impact on our hotel and airline partners, the role of travel agents, and the forecast of the future, paints an accurate picture of how integral our members are to the health of the industry overall and strengthens our voice to stakeholders.”
At the media briefing afterward, Dale said USTOA hopes to update the research with its members biannually.