By Brian Jewell
LAS VEGAS — NTA announced a series of new partnerships and initiatives at its December convention in Las Vegas that will focus on the growing diversity of products offered by member operators.
The association’s administrators are building relationships and networks that will help to identify growth opportunities for members as well as build connections among suppliers and tour operators that are already engaged in certain sectors of the broad tourism market.
Among growth projects is a Hispanic initiative undertaken with the American Society of Travel Agents. The two associations have formed a joint task force to help identify the desire for travel products and services among the country’s growing Hispanic population.
NTA leaders are also looking to help their members improve what they already do.
“The most important thing that has been happening here is that we recognize the diversity of our tour operators,” said NTA president Lisa Simon. “It’s going to be difficult to do things that involve all of our tour operators. So we want to build networks of people who offer specific types of products.”
Leaders began building a network of companies offering faith-based products this year; Simon said that they are also looking at making similar connections among the 30 percent of members who offer student tours. Adventure travel is on the radar as well.
“We’re going to get into the adventure market early next year,” she said. “There’s a growing demand for that among our membership.”
Simon said NTA will work with the leaders of other trade organizations, such as the Student and Youth Travel Association and the Adventure Travel Trade Association, to offer education to NTA members.
“We’re very close to the people at these associations, so I believe the best thing to do is bring those experts to our market,” she said.