The American Bus Association (ABA) and Going On Faith have brought their considerable tourism influence together in a joint effort to return group tourism to Joplin, Mo.
Joplin, the host city to the Going On Faith Conference in 2010, was hit by a devastating tornado following that event. Joplin has developed a strong group tourism network, and prior to the disaster, tourism played a major role in the local economy.
“We are pleased to report that our tourism friends are safe, now it is our responsibility to help rebuild group tourism to this great destination,” said Charlie Presley of Going on Faith.
ABA is the travel industry’s leading organization for motorcoach operators, with more than 800 bus company members in North America.
Going On Faith is dedicated to church and religious group travel. The Going On Faith Conference attracts more than 350 church groups and travel industry delegates.
Church groups at this year’s Going On Faith Conference in Richmond, Va., in August were asked to consider including Joplin as a tour destination during the next two years and received special Joplin tour packages developed by ABA bus operators.
In addition, church groups were encouraged to plan a trip to Joplin with the delegates they met at the Going On Faith Conference. Going On Faith had 125 travel industry delegates in attendance, with many being tour companies that include tour packages to Joplin as well.
Going On Faith projects that its effort with ABA should develop $2.5 million of religious group travel to Joplin by 2013. Industry standards say that for every dollar of group tourism that is spent in a region, another $7.50 is generated in revolving business.
“This means that our efforts could bring $17.5 million of growth to Joplin,” said Presley.
“Although the travel industry has a history of working together, this effort by ABA and Going On Faith is especially direct in that it is designed to identify church groups willing to tour Joplin and direct those groups to ABA bus companies that can make package tours available.”
The Going On Faith magazine reaches out to more than 6,000 church groups and will drive the promotion to them as well.
“I want to personally thank Peter Pantuso, president and CEO of American Bus Association, for his involvement in this effort. Peter saw the need of Joplin and that our respective organizations could work together to rebuild tourism,” said Presley.
This effort is open to all travel groups, and you may follow it on Facebook by liking www.facebook.com/gofconference.