October 17, 2011 | Issue #108
The Senate Homeland Security Committee has approved an amendment offered by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) that will eliminate the Intercity Bus Security Grant Program (IBSGP).
The IBSGP is a competitive grant program that awards money to qualified bus companies to improve the safety and security of their operations. Since 2003, around $94 million has been awarded to hundreds of operators to pay for things like training, vehicle security enhancements, passenger screening and security planning.
IBSGP has been universally viewed as a highly effective program that costs the federal government a relatively small amount of money (about $10 million annually.) In fact, the Transportation Security Administration recently released a report recommending needed security improvements for the bus industry, and that report concluded that continuing IBSGP would be an effective way of funding those improvements.
But now IBSGP is under attack. ABA is asking all of its members to call their senators today and ask them to save this important program.
Here are some talking points to use when you call:
• Annually motorcoach operators provide an average of 745 million passenger trips to the public which is comparable to the number of trips provided by the domestic airlines and more than 20 times the number of trips provided by Amtrak.
• The airline industry, Amtrak and transit enjoy the full support of the federal government in the form of billions of dollars in security assistance.
• Whether Americans travel by air, rail or bus they have the right to feel that their government is doing all it can to protect them from the threat of terrorism.
• Remind your senator what your company has done with the grant money and how that has helped to protect your passengers.
• Remind your senator that your company is vital to the local economy and to your passengers.
You can reach your senators office by calling (202) 224-3121. Please call ABA staff at (202) 218-7224 if you have any questions, or need assistance contacting your senator's office.
Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced the Travel Regional Investment Partnership (TRIP) Act last week. The legislation would promote domestic tourism through a competitive matching grant program.
"This sector of our economy is a proven job creator, and the TRIP Act would help us build on that success," said Senator Schumer in a statement. "The TRIP Act would help New York museums, parks, and a host of other tourist destinations make critical investments in their infrastructure, helping them grow for years to come."
The TRIP Act would allow local tourism promotion organizations, such as convention and visitors' bureaus, to partner with other regional tourism entities, such as parks or resorts, to receive federal funding to market their destination across the United States. Funding would come in the form of matching grants totaling between $100,000 and $1 million. The grants would leverage millions more from the private sector and attract billions in economic activity and consumer spending.
"The tourism industry plays a large role in this country's economy, and the TRIP Act will give the industry a much needed boost," said ABA's President and CEO Peter J. Pantuso. "ABA applauds Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand for introducing this important legislation, and we look forward to working with them to ensure that it becomes law."
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell announced last week that visitors to Virginia generated $18.9 billion in revenue in 2010, a 6.7 percent increase over 2009. In 2010, tourism in Virginia supported 204,000 jobs and provided more than $1.3 billion in state and local taxes.
"The increase in revenue from tourism is very encouraging," said Governor McDonnell. "Given current economic conditions across the country, a 6.7 percent increase is impressive. Tourism is an instant revenue generator and job creator for Virginia, which is why I continue to advocate for more resources for tourism marketing. Smart investments in tourism provide economic benefits to communities across the Commonwealth and good jobs for our citizens."
The 6.7 percent growth in domestic visitor spending follows Governor McDonnell's recent announcement that tourism spending by overseas travelers to Virginia increased by more than 12 percent in 2010. Additionally, Canadian visitors to Virginia showed an even greater increase as nearly 575,000 Canadians traveled to Virginia and spent more than $133 million, a 16.6 percent increase in spending over 2009
The Transportation Committee of the New York City Council held a meeting to discuss motorcoach safety earlier this month. During the meeting, the committee passed a series of resolutions endorsing several pieces of federal and state bus safety legislation.
The first resolution, Res 0981, endorses HR 1390, a bill in the US House of Representatives, which ABA supports. In a report released by the committee along with the resolution the committee wrote that they support HR 1390 because it "would strengthen the U.S. Department of Transportation's ("USDOT") ability to regulate the motorcoach industry and establish minimum training requirements for drivers seeking a CDL and would require USDOT to review states' current requirements for earning a CDL."
The committee also passed Res 1000, which endorses A. 8113, a bill in the New York State Assembly. A. 8113 would require all bus drivers in New York to undergo background checks before they are given a CDL with a passenger endorsement. Click here to read A. 8113 in its entirety
Click here to read the committee's full report
All operators must file their annual Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) usage and acquisition reports with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) by October 31.
ADA reporting regulations require over-the-road-bus companies to submit three types of reports annually by the last Monday of every October. Each annual report covers the time period from October 1 of the prior calendar year through September 30 of the current calendar year.
The three reports are: the Annual Summary Report of Individual Accessible/Equivalent Service Requests and Responses/Service Provided; Fixed Route OTRB Company's Annual Lift Use Summary and the Annual Report of OTRB's Purchased/Leased and Overall Fleet Data.
You can find more information on reporting requirements here. The forms can be downloaded directly from ABA's website here
During the 44th Annual Florida Governor's Conference on Tourism, Visit Tallahassee was awarded with the prestigious Flagler Award, aka "The Henry" for Advocacy for the T.O.U.R. Guide program, outranking larger tourism markets, Jacksonville and Naples. Although Visit Tallahassee has been a finalist in years past for the Flagler Awards, this was the first time in the destination's history of winning first place. Named after Henry Flagler's commitment and imagination regarding tourism, the Florida Commission on Tourism created the Flagler Awards in 2000 to honor excellence in tourism marketing in Florida, and recognizes those continuing to make Florida a leading travel destination. In addition to winning "The Henry," Visit Tallahassee was given the Bronze Award for print advertising for the "Comes Together Beautifully" campaign.
Understanding the most frequently named trip purpose to Tallahassee is visiting friends and relatives, Visit Tallahassee launched T.O.U.R. Guide, standing for "Tourism is Our Ultimate Resource," in 2010 as a campaign to educate residents on the importance of local tourism. The six-month program offers free admission to select local attractions on the third Saturday of each month (March through August) and value-added deals and discounts from local tourism partners. By guiding out-of-town friends and family to local attractions, residents become ambassadors for Tallahassee, helping boost the local economy.
Clyde Hart, ABA's Senior Vice President for Government Affairs & Public Policy, was named to Association Trends Magazine's list of Effective Association Lobbyists.
Association Trends publishes the list annually to honor the top lobbyists in Washington, D.C. This year's list is made up of lobbyists from the most powerful trade associations in the nation's capital including the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association, the American Bankers Association and the National Retail Federation.
The magazine asked Hart to spell out his philosophy on what makes an effective lobbyist. He told them "I have three rules for lobbying: One, tell the whole story, what is good and bad about your position and your solution. Two, always be honest in your dealings with congressional members, staff and your fellow lobbyists. Official Washington is a small world and your reputation is your only sword and your best shield. Three, the lobbyist who refuses to work with the "other side" on solutions to any issue is doing a disservice to his or her client."
Click here to see the list.
A mobile charity organization called The Do Good Bus has partnered with the indie rock band Foster the People to promote awareness of local charities across the country.
The Do Good Bus works like any other tour operator, but instead of taking guests to a sporting event or a festival, they take groups of volunteers to charities in their community.
The project was started by two non-profit professionals from Los Angeles, Rebecca Pontius and Stephen Snedden. The two came up with the idea when Pontius's brother rented a party bus for her 30th birthday and they realized they could use it to do volunteer work with their friends.
"I thought if we had a party atmosphere, but then did something good at the same time, we could show them how to volunteer," Pontius told ReminderNews.com.
The birthday party volunteer trip was a success, and since then they have taken the bus to help pass out burritos to homeless people, sold hugs for charity at a farmers market and brought school supplies to an orphanage in Mexico.
Now they are following Foster the People on their national tour (Pontius's brother, Mark is the band's drummer) volunteering time for local charities at each stop along the way. So far they have worked with charities in Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Maryland and Connecticut.
Click here to learn more about The Do Good Bus.
Mastering the art of nonverbal communication is an essential skill for anyone in business in this day and age. Whether you are making a presentation to colleagues, taking a perspective client out to lunch, or just shaking hands during a job interview your body is sending out a series of subtle nonverbal cues that tell your audience a lot more about you than the words coming out of your mouth.
To help our members become better nonverbal communicators, ABA is hosting a webinar on October 19th at 3:00 PM EST titled "Understanding The Importance Of Nonverbal Communication," featuring world-renowned communications expert Jan Hargrave.
The topics covered will include:
Jan is professional speaker, distinguished lecturer and author of five books. She has appeared on the Montel Williams Show, Fox News, The Learning Channel and E-Entertainment Television. She is a contributing author to: The New York Post, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, In Touch Weekly, US Weekly and Golf Magazine. She has given presentations to Fortune 500 companies like Lockheed Martin, Merrill Lynch, Starbucks and ESPN.
Click here to register.
Watch Jan in action in the clip below.
ABA has posted the education schedule for Marketplace 2012 on its website.
ABA offers more than 40 quality seminars conducted by top-rated national speakers and industry experts. The 2012 Marketplace education program will continue to offer timely topics on three tracks: Professional and Personal Development, Industry Tools and Business Management.
Operator track seminars are open to all delegates, but the examples and specifics are based on our operators' needs. They have been designed for immediate application when you return to the office from Grapevine. Delegates do not need to sign up in advance for any seminars; however, you do need to schedule them in during the busy Marketplace week to take advantage of all that Marketplace has to offer.
You may also fulfill some of your certification requirements for the Certified Travel Industry Specialist (CTIS) Program by attending these Marketplace seminars. This continuing education program is created exclusively for the motorcoach and group travel industry and extends the benefits of professional education past Marketplace and into your business and your career.
Appointment Request Are Live
Marketplace delegates can now log onto the AB’s website to make appointment requests. You can learn more about the appoint process by clicking here.
The GroupConnect Family of Online Tools, the official public search engine for www.buses.org and www.omca.com has grown and we now offer more marketing and advertising opportunities for you to reach your target markets, group travelers! Reach qualified tour operators/planners, travel agents, group leaders by enhancing your online listing to include videos, pictures, contact information, services offered and have the ability to receive quotes delivered to your inbox. Contact GroupConnect today at 866-644-1664 or email@example.com.
Sell More Bus Charters:
CharterBusConnect.com is an ABA member benefit and is the online public search for bus operators on www.buses.org. All bus operator members of ABA receive a basic listing through their membership which includes contact information only.
Bus operator members of ABA are eligible to enhance their listing for $99, which includes the opportunity to receive quotes and create a profile of your business informing the customer about your buses and services. Customers search for bus charters by putting in their zip code and choosing companies to receive a quote from. If you do not purchase the enhanced listing, your company will only have a basic listing without the opportunity to receive quote requests or advertise your business.
For more information, contact CharterBusConnect at 866-644-1664 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Convention & Visitors Bureau of Greater Portland ME
The following Motorcoach & Tour Operators have submitted application(s) for membership between September 27, 2011 through October 10, 2011 and have met all membership requirements. They are currently in the mandatory 30 Day period for member comments. Should members have comments regarding these applications, please contact email@example.com.