LEXINGTON, Kentucky – Fresh off a successful partnership with Brand USA last month at the China International Travel Mart in Shanghai, NTA is moving into the next phase of its award-winning China Inbound Program.
The program began in 2008, when the governments of the United States and China signed a memorandum of understanding allowing Chinese leisure travelers to visit the United States in group tours. Since then, NTA has maintained a list of US tour operators registered to handle inbound Chinese group travelers. In 2010, the association opened the NTA Visit USA Center in Shanghai as a hub for marketing travel to the United States and facilitating business connections with the US and Chinese trade. The office was operated in cooperation with, and with support from, the International Trade Administration’s Market Development Cooperator Program.
“When we created our China Inbound Program and opened the NTA Visit USA Center, there was no national, comprehensive program to market the United States as a destination. Now that Brand USA and the Visit USA Committee are becoming active in the market, NTA will not operate the Visit USA Center in Shanghai,” said Lisa Simon, NTA President, “NTA has played an important role in promoting the United States and helping the industry gain market share, so we will remain very active in the market.”
Simon added that NTA will continue to provide consulting and educational sessions, organize trade events such as the US Pavilion at the China Outbound Travel and Tourism Market in April in Beijing and present the second China Market Forum during Contact, NTA’s tour operator event, which will be held in Hawai’i, the big island, August 15–17.
While establishing a dynamic presence in China at key trade shows – and through road shows organized by the association – NTA has garnered several awards. They include the Chinese Tourists Welcoming Award from the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute (2012) and the Gold Award at the World Travel Fair (2011, 2012). And at its convention last December, NTA was honored for its work with the Chinese market by the US Department of Commerce, US Commercial Service, which awarded NTA a Certificate of Appreciation for Achievement in Trade for “exceptional contributions to US travel and tourism exports in the China market.”
“NTA can be proud of the role the association played in building a bridge to the market in China,” said Isabel Hill, Deputy Director of Travel and Tourism Industries at the US Department of Commerce, “Their work clearly contributed to the growth of travel and tourism exports, and I’m confident that, with NTA’s continued involvement, travel to the United States will continue to increase.”
NTA embarked on its China Inbound Program just as the market began to increase dramatically. Overall, the number of Chinese visitors into the United States rose from 493,000 in 2008 to more than a million (1,089,000) in 2011, with a forecasted total of 1,536,000 in 2012. US tour operators participating in NTA’s program enjoyed a similar increase. The number of tourists in groups handled quarterly by the 149 NTA operators rose from 46,709 in 2010 to 121,180 in the most recent survey, conducted in the third quarter of 2012.
Founded in 1951, NTA is the leading business-building association for travel professionals (from more than 40 countries) interested in the North American market – inbound, outbound, and within the continent. Travel Exchange runs from January 20 through 24.
PHOTO: Brand USA and NTA partnered to host the Discover America Pavilion at the China International Travel Mart in Shanghai, November 15 to 18. Left to right: Jay Gray, Paul Cerula and Caroline Beteta of Brand USA; Jim Reddekopp Jr. and Haybina Hao of NTA. / Photo from ntaonline.com