IITA Chairman Appointed to Travel & Tourism Advisory Board
Lexington, Ky. – Gary Schluter, Chairman of the International Inbound Travel Association and General Manager of Rocky Mountain Holiday Tours, was appointed to the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board (TTAB). On Friday, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced the appointments to the TTAB, which serves as the advisory body to the Secretary of Commerce on matters relating to the travel and tourism industry in the United States.
TTAB members represent a broad spectrum of the travel industry, including hotels and restaurants, financial services, transportation services, as well as a variety of small and large firms from across the country. Having the voice of the inbound travel sector in the mix, demonstrates the importance of inbound tour operators in driving international business to the United States.
Schluter has 40+ years of experience in the travel and tourism industry, and as a small business entrepreneur, he owns and operates an international inbound travel company specializing in tours to the Rocky Mountain region of the United States. His company serves tour operators and travelers primarily from Australia, Europe and the UK.
“I am honored to be appointed to serve on the US Travel and Tourism Advisory Board,” said Schluter. “Inbound tour operators are at the forefront of the industry driving international visitation to the United States. As Chairman of IITA, I will bring the voice of our members to the TTAB as well as be strategically positioned to engage grassroots support and advocacy on issues like Visa Waiver, infrastructure planning and stimulating travel.
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IITA has been hard at work forging relationships to strengthen the U.S. inbound industry and promote IITA members in the international travel community.
IITA Announces Second Trade Mission to Brazil
IITA will be conducting its second annual trade mission to Brazil in September. Space is limited to 10 participants in order to facilitate greater interaction with outbound operators. Deadline for registration is July 24.
IITA and Brand USA Announce Partnership
IITA and Brand USA’s new partnership will focus on the periodic MegaFams conducted by Brand USA. IITA will conduct follow-up with MegaFam participants by providing receptive tour operator information to them, while IITA will provide MegaFam participant information to receptive members.
IITA Signs Memorandum of Understanding with Discover America-Taiwan
IITA and Discover America-Taiwan recently signs an agreement pledging cooperation between the two group on education and marketing opportunities.
IITA to Distribute Member Information in India, Brazil and China
IITA is creating special member directories to be disseminated by staff (in Brazil at the VUSA-Brazil show) and by the Visit USA-India committee (at the VUSA Mice Show) and the US Commercial Service in China.
IPW Adopts IITA Definition of Receptive Tour Operator
Receptive tour operators at IPW must meet IITA’s definition of receptive tour operator in order to qualify for attendance in that category. IITA’s receptive tour operator definition may be found on the IITA homepage.
IITA Chairman Jonathan Zuk re-appointed to Travel and Tourism Advisory Board
IITA Chairman Jonathan Zuk will serve a second term on the Department of Commerce’s Travel and Tourism Advisory Board.
Summit 2015 to feature delegations from Brazil and Taiwan
The 2015 IITA Summit (to be held Feb. 3-4 in Las Vegas) will once again feature a delegation from Brazil as well as a small contingent from Taiwan, a first for IITA. Registration for the 2015 Summit will open in mid-October 2014.
IITA Signs MOU with Braztoa
The International Inbound Travel Association (IITA) is pleased to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Braztoa, the Brazilian Tour Operator Association. The agreement pledges that both groups will work together on educational and marketing efforts to facilitate travel to the United States.
“IITA members view Brazil as an important market today and a vital one tomorrow,” said IITA chairman Jonathan Zuk. “Our partnership with Braztoa, in addition to our relationship with the U.S. Commercial Service, will help our members gain the knowledge, information, and contacts necessary to provide Brazilian tourists with outstanding products and services in the United States.”
“IITA is pleased to be able to create opportunities for members to learn about the Brazilian market. We look forward to working with Braztoa to create new educational and business opportunities for our respective members,” said IITA executive director Matt Grayson.
Recognized as one of the most important and representative nationwide Brazilian tourism organizations, the Brazilian Tour Operators Association (BRAZTOA) brings together the most prestigious companies in the industry. The association currently has 97 members, which account for approximately 90% of tour packages sold in Brazil. Braztoa members include tour operators and firms representing domestic and international products and destinations.
A non-profit organization, BRAZTOA promotes actions and partnerships to add value to the business activities of members and support the sustainable development of the tourism market. The objectives of the association include the promotion of its members in an organized market, with free enterprise and fair competition.
The United States is phasing out its requirement for visitors to manually complete the green CBP Form I-94W paper arrival/departure document. This applies to air or sea travelers who are citizens of countries included in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), and who have received prior travel authorization via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
The work to eliminate the form started as a result of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) collaborated with the airlines, other federal agencies and industry partners to conform to the new requirements. Since January 12, 2009 all nationals of VWP countries have been required to apply for a travel authorization via ESTA before traveling to the United States. This will affect over two-thirds of overseas travelers to the United States.
Information collected from other automated sources related to the passenger’s itinerary (APIS, US-VISIT, admission record, the machine readable passport, etc.) have enabled DHS to create an electronic I-94W record for travelers that seek admission at U.S. air and sea ports of entry.
In addition to the security features made possible by ESTA, as outlined in the DHS press release <http://www.dhs.gov/ynews/releases/pr_1274366942074.shtm>, the new electronic I-94W document will offer processing advantages:
Enhanced Data integrity (elimination of manual keypunching and interpretation of handwritten entries),
Quicker data turn-around for reporting purposes, in the long term,
Enhanced matching of arrival to departure records, and
Continued use of all data fields included in the current I-94W form.
After a successful pilot program, the automated processing is now being implemented for all carriers at all U.S. international gateway airports. Total coverage is expected by the end of this summer.
The I-94W forms will continue to be required at land borders; in case of system outages; and when deemed operationally necessary. Also, the I-94 white paper document, for citizens from non-Visa Waiver Program countries remains in effect for the foreseeable future.
As a result of DHS/CBP cooperation with airlines and all federal users there is currently a seamless transition to the automated system. OTTI and DHS/CBP will continue to deliver international arrivals data to industry users.