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NTA Announces Changes to Travel Exchange

LEXINGTON, Kentucky — NTA will introduce several new ideas and revamped programs at its upcoming Travel Exchange convention December 8-12 in Fort Worth, Texas.

The association has worked for several years with business and event consultants to create meaningful changes to its trade show. Association leaders hope these innovations will give the organization an edge in an industry crowded with conferences and events, many somewhat homogenous in their programming.

Tour operators and other travel buyers will notice several changes to make their schedules easier and create more opportunities for networking. Buyers will be seated for all appointments throughout the week. And all scheduled appointments with destination representatives will now take place on Monday, the conference’s first full day. Buyers will have no scheduled appointments on Tuesday, allowing them more time to attend educational seminars, browse booths on the trade show floor and network during less structured events.

These schedule changes also allow for the introduction of a new program that NTA is calling Sales Missions. These are 15-minute presentations led by state and provincial destination marketing associations (DMOs). The state DMOs can invite local destination and tour supplier representatives from their states to join in the presentations. Presenters will use the new program to educate tour operators on packaging and itinerary options available in their areas. Each presentation will be attended by at least six buyers.

Sales Missions are scheduled during two hourlong blocks on Tuesday morning. In total, buyers will attend six sales missions that morning. Buyers will request to attend specific Sales Mission presentations online.

Another related new program is Best Pitch, a 90-minute session in which representatives of national tourism offices will give five-minute presentations to groups of about 20 tour operators.

NTA is also introducing a new awards program in Fort Worth. The Trexies will honor outstanding sponsor booths. Tour operator members will serve as judges and award honors for the following categories: Best Giveaways, Most Interactive, Tastiest Treat and Best of Show.