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When a ‘next great idea’ … worked!

Buyers and sellers conduct an abundance of appointments at Travel Exchange, NTA’s signature show (also known as TREX). This year’s event is slated for Nov. 13–16 in Reno, Nevada. The eight-minute business meetings provide enough time for introductions and updates—but also for building a relationship.

When Nayaz Noor and Fraser Neave met in San Antonio five years ago, neither knew exactly what the appointment would lead to. They were strangers paired by the computerized matching system that NTA pioneered in 1974 and has continually refined since. They’re also half a world apart. Noor (pictured above, at right) is the CEO of 39 Degrees South, a ground operator in Australia, while Neave (above, left) is product development director for Wells Gray Tours in British Columbia.

“I had never met Nayaz before, but I typically request an appointment with every receptive tour operator from outside of North America,” Neave says.

The appointment was considered a perfect match by the computer system because Noor had also requested an appointment with Neave.

“As a seller, my focus is to get tour operators to include Australia as a new destination,” Noor says. “I check every company’s website to see what kind of tours they are promoting, and I’ll target that operator for an appointment at TREX in case they’re thinking of expanding their portfolio with an international destination.”

While Noor promotes an overseas destination, the majority of delegates at Travel Exchange are based in the United States and Canada. But it’s a big world, and NTA operators make big plans.

“I came home from TREX with Australia as one of my top new tour ideas,” Neave says. “Nayaz and I had further discussions about a two-and-a-half-week itinerary that included a trip aboard The Ghan, a luxury train. We called the tour ‘Amazing Australia,’ and it sold out instantly.”

Relaxing aboard The Ghan are Nayaz Noor (right) and his wife, Suchitra Reddy (middle). Photo submitted by Nayaz Noor

Wells Gray’s Australian adventure in 2019 was a huge hit with the participants, and the Noor-Neave team had another tour set for 2021, but … you know.

The journey continues, though. “We’re booked for 2023, and the tour is nearly full,” Neave says. “We even expanded it by two days.”

It’s successful partnerships like this that make Neave excited about Travel Exchange ’22 in Reno, Nevada, Nov. 13–16.

“Reno was my first travel conference that I ever attended, back in 2009, and I’m looking forward to meeting a new supplier partner who will help me find my next great idea,” he says. “There isn’t another travel show in North America where I can meet with U.S.-based restaurants and hotels one day and have appointments with receptive tour operators from around the world the following day.”

It’ll be a reunion, then, because after missing the 2021 show due to COVID restrictions, Noor is also returning to Travel Exchange. And both Neave and Noor will find more potential partners. Registration by buyers and sellers is pacing well ahead of NTA’s 2021 event.

This photo submitted by Fraser Neave shows that he connects with colleagues at NTA events outside of business appointments. 

And every delegate will be looking for their next great idea.

For more information about Travel Exchange, visit NTAtravelexchange.com.

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