January 30, 2012 | Issue #115

ABA Supports Obama’s Efforts To Boost Tourism

ABA  announced its enthusiastic support for President Barak Obama’s strategy to significantly increase travel and tourism in the United States, and make the United States the world’s top tourist destination. 

“More money spent by more tourists means more businesses can hire more workers.  This is a pretty simple formula.  And that’s why we’re all here today -- to tell the world that America is open for business” the president said when he unveiled his plan during a speech in Orlando, Fla. last week.

Obama’s plan includes an increase in visa processing capacity in China and Brazil; expediting visa processing for all countries; expanding the Visa Waiver Program; appointing travel industry professionals to the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board and steps to promote National Parks.

“We applaud President Obama for acknowledging the important role tourism plays in the nation’s economy, and for spearheading this initiative that will help the tourism industry to continue to grow,” said ABA President & CEO Peter Pantuso.  “An influx of international tourists will help our members, who include motorcoach operators, tour operator, hotels, convention and visitor’s bureau’s and other attractions, support thousands of more jobs in the United States.”

 “But more can be done,” Pantuso continued. “We hope that the administration will also take steps to support domestic tourism – within the United States.”

FMCSA, Department of Justice Issue Restraining Order On Double Happyness

At the request of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has issued a temporary restraining order against Double Happyness Travel, Inc. that prohibits the company from operating in or affecting interstate passenger transportation service.

"ABA applauds FMCSA and the Department of Justice for shutting down Double Happyness," said ABA President and CEO Peter Pantuso. "It is imperative that our industry and the federal government continue to work together on these important safety issues, to get the illegal and unsafe companies off the road for good,"

FMCSA requested the temporary restraining order based on evidence that Double Happyness was selling bus tickets and conducting bus trips in direct violation of the agency's previous orders to immediately cease all transportation operations.

FMCSA initially declared Double Happyness an "imminent hazard to safety," revoked its operating authority and ordered its officers to shut down all transportation operations effective Dec. 23, 2011. This imminent hazard out-of-service order followed an extensive review of the company, which found multiple violations of hours-of-service, vehicle maintenance, and controlled substance and alcohol testing rules.

On Jan. 5, 2012, FMCSA issued a cease and desist order against Double Happyness after FMCSA investigators and state police discovered the company was still operating and selling tickets in violation of the agency's previous shutdown order. The temporary restraining order against Double Happyness enforces FMCSA's earlier orders. 

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White House Taps Twelve ABA Members To Serve On Tourism Board

Twelve members of the American Bus Association (ABA) were among the tourism industry professionals appointed by the White House to serve on the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board.

The board advises the Secretary of Commerce on issues affecting foreign visitors to the U.S. including: travel facilitation, visa policy, improving the international travel entry experience, aviation security, energy security, crisis communications and research and data, among other issues.

"It's fantastic to see so many ABA members represented on this prestigious committee," said ABA President and CEO Peter Pantuso, CTIS. "This is a great group of leaders from our industry, and they are representative of the diversity of the travel and tourism community.

Pantuso continued "As they help to shape the country's tourism policies in the years ahead, we hope that they will push the administration to implement policies that will bolster domestic as well as international tourism."

The ABA members named to the panel are:

Todd Davidson, Chief Executive Officer, Travel Oregon
Holly Agra, President, Chicago's First Lady Tours
Maureen Bausch, Executive Vice President of Business Development, Mall of America
Linda Carlisle, Secretary, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources
Elliott Ferguson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Destination DC
Hubert Joly, President and Chief Executive Officer, Carlson Companies
Kathleen Matthews, Executive Vice President, Marriott International
J. Stephen Perry, President and Chief Executive Officer, New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau
Rossi Ralenkotter, President and Chief Executive Officer, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority
Ronald Solimon, President and Chief Executive Officer, Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Inc. and Indian Pueblos Marketing, Inc.
John Sprouls, Chief Executive Officer, Universal Orlando Resort and Executive Vice President, Universal Parks and Resorts
Christopher Thompson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Visit Florida

Click here for the full membership roster

Operators:Complete The 2011 Motorcoach Census Before Feb.27thFor Chance To Win $500 Gift Card

ABA is asking all of its operator members to complete the 2012 Motorcoach Census survey before the February 27th deadline. All operators who complete the survey will automatically be entered to win a $500 Visa gift card. The survey can be completed here.

The 2011 Motorcoach Census, a product of the ABA Foundation (ABAF), is one of the few comprehensive sources of information on the industry. ABA uses this information to educate policy makers and the public about the importance of motorcoach travel and tourism.

"It is vitally important that every operator complete the 2011 Motorcoach Census," said ABA President and CEO Peter Pantuso. "The census makes it easier to ask for support from lawmakers, because we can tell them exactly how many of their constituents rely on motorcoach transportation every day. Without these numbers, their support goes elsewhere."

The Motorcoach Census is sponsored by the ABA Foundation in cooperation with United Motorcoach Association, American Bus Association, Motor Coach Canada, Trailways, International Motorcoach Group, Ontario Motor Coach Association, the Quebec Bus Owners Association, Student Youth Travel Association, ABC Companies, Motor Coach Industries, Prevost, and Daimler Buses North America. The study results will provide an accurate picture of the industry to motorcoach operators, the media, lawmakers, business partners and consumers.

The ABAF has selected John Dunham and Associates (JDA) to conduct and manage the data collection for the 2011 Motorcoach Census. We are aware that certain survey questions may be sensitive, and we will treat any data provided as confidential. As part of this data collection, we will only report aggregate industry information to the public At no time, will JDA or the ABAF report individually identifiable survey data to any third party group, company or organization.

Click here to complete the 2011 Motorcoach Census today! 

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Prevost Develops Free Marketing Tools For Operators

Prevost has developed a set of marketing tools for operators to use and customize to assist in promoting their companies and operations as well as the coach industry overall.

Operators can choose from a series of print ads to promote the fun and convenience of coach travel. PowerPoint presentations, videos and press releases to emphasize the importance of safety and the environmental benefits of coach travel are also available.

The tools are free of charge, and available at www.prevostoperatormarketing.com.

Simply download the assets and customize them by inserting your logo to create a unique message from your company.

"Prevost is committed to being the best business partner to our customers. We developed these tools to make our operator partners' marketing plans easier to fulfill. Any way that we can help to promote motorcoach travel is good for the entire industry," said Mike Power, Director of Marketing and Communications. 

New Fleet Of Green Coaches For Indian Trails’ Michigan Flyer

Indian Trails has invested over $2 million to equip their Michigan Flyer airport shuttle service with four brand-new Prevost coaches that emit near-zero emissions.

"The decision to invest in this infrastructure upgrade is based on our commitment to our customers, to Michigan Flyer, and to the people of mid-Michigan," said Indian Trails President Gordon Mackay.

Michigan Flyer makes eight roundtrips each day between East Lansing, Jackson, Ann Arbor, and Detroit Metropolitan Airport, carrying more than 90,000 passengers a year. T

The new coaches--all equipped with ADA-compliant wheelchair lifts--also feature a collection of amenities designed to enhance passenger safety and comfort.

"Motorcoach travel has long been the greenest form of transportation," said ABA President and CEO Peter Pantuso. "And thanks to the leadership of great operators like Indian Trails, customers looking for a greener way to travel will always be able to rely on the motorcoach." 

Motorcoach Marketer Available Online

ABA members can access a digital copy of the brand new 2012 Motorcoach Marketer by logging onto the My ABA section of www.buses.org. Members were sent a hard copy in November.

Motorcoach Marketer is ABA's 500-page, annual membership directory features detailed contact and tour information on every ABA motorcoach and tour operator, member hotels, attractions, restaurants, museums, destinations and DMOs. Every state and provincial tourism office is detailed as well as important contact information about travel industry and supplier members.

Click here to access login to My ABA and view the 2012 Motorcoach Marketer.

ABA Foundation Scholarships Now Open

The ABA Foundation is offering 20 scholarships to employees of ABA member companies and their children this year ranging from $2,500-$10,000 per award.

Winners are selected based on their academic merit, community service, extracurricular activities, leadership, and anticipated financial need. All applicants are notified of the competition results in June. An impartial selection committee of educators is responsible for ranking and choosing the winners.

To start the application process visit https://aim.applyists.net/ambus/. Once you have completed step one, you will be able to see the status of your applications and/or make any necessary changes. You do not have to resubmit any paperwork. Your status will show in red print at the top of the page. The program closes April 2.

For additional information, contact Andrea Glass at (615) 627-9686 or aglass@applyists.com

Marketplace 2012 Stats Posted Online

The numbers are in, and they prove that Marketplace 2012 was another smash hit!  Over 3,300 delegates were on hand for this year’s show and participated in more than 136,000 quality business appointments.

Here are some other interesting figures:

750 motorcoach and tour operators were in attendance

226 motorcoach and tour operator companies took appointments all week

300+ sponsors

229 Associate service & product suppliers attended

72 associate product and service suppliers exhibited at MKPL

A full listing of the show’s statistics can be found here

Show Follow Up Tools:

Marketplace 2012 might be over, but ABA is still working for you to ensure that you get the best return on investment from this year’s show as possible.

All delegates will be sent a final Directory of Participants by the end of January for follow up and will have access to their Marketplace Passport until the end of February.  To keep Marketplace delegate-driven, delegates are encouraged to complete their Marketplace evaluation available in their Passport.

GroupConnect Growing

The GroupConnect team is excited after a very successful ABA Marketplace in Grapevine. More and more members are updating their profiles and providing pertinent information for tour planners and operators to use while planning their itineraries. Our plan for 2012 is to increase our advertising presence and participate in more tradeshows to promote CharterBusConnect and GroupConnect/GroupTravelConnect to potential customers. We have experienced tremendous growth in the past year and look forward to continuing upward!

If you have not enhanced your profile on GroupConnect/GroupConnectTravel or CharterBusConnect you may be missing out on potential new business opportunities. As a member benefit these services are offered to you at very competitive prices when compared to other marketing and advertising opportunities.

To enhance your listing or request more information, please contact GroupConnect at 1-866-644-1664, ext. 201 or info@groupconnect.com

GroupConnect Has a Winner or Two!

Congratulations to Kimberly Barnes of Travel Kuz and Jane Malton-Mages from the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau for winning Kindle Fire tablets from GroupConnect.   Kimberly and Jane stopped by the GroupConnect booth at Marketplace in Grapevine and updated the profiles to qualify.  Thanks to everyone who came by the booth and congratulations to Kimberly and Jane.

Passings

Aerial Fullington Weisman passed away at home on January 21, 2012. She was 62.

Born March 19, 1949 in Clearfield, she was the only daughter of Richard "Dick" and Mildred "Tillie" Fullington.

She was married October 27, 1984 to Milton H. Weisman who survives her. Also surviving are brothers Michael L. Fullington and his wife Lory of State College, and John Richard Fullington, Jr.; sister-in-law Loretta Peters Fullington of Clearfield; nieces and nephews Heidi Fullington Burke, Michael John Fullington, Matthew Fullington, Tenley Fullington Warhurst, and Cassandra Fullington; great niece and nephews Liam Burke, Lily Burke, and Finn Burke.

Fullington attended Pennsylvania State University receiving the degree of Bachelor of Science of Nursing in 1972, and went on to work in the cardiac unit of Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh In 2003, she returned to Clearfield to assist her family at The Fullington Auto Bus Company as President and CEO.

She was a life-time member of St. John Lutheran Church in Clearfield and was a member of the Church Council. In 2007, she was awarded as one of the "Best Fifty Women in Business" by the state of Pennsylvania. She has served on the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors for the Pennsylvania Bus Association and National Trailways Transportation System.

Aerial's greatest joy was her immediate family, her close friends, and the "Fullington Family of Employees," whom she valued and respected very much.

Memorial contributions can be made to:

Clearfield Food Bank, c/o Trinity United Methodist Church, 121 S. Second St., Clearfield;

St. John Lutheran Church for the Children's Education Fund;

Clearfield Hospital Hospice, 438 West Front Street, P.O. Box 992, Clearfield, or

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Avenue, New York, NY 10065. 

New ABA Members To Add To Your 2012 Motorcoach Marketer

New Members- Print and Add to your 2012 ABA Motorcoach Marketer

ASSOCIATE

Sage Payment Solutions
Julie Herman
1750 Old Meadow Rd., Ste. 300
McLean, VA 22102
PH: (218) 841-7032
Computer Software

TRAVEL INDUSTRY

Hampton Inn & Suites Charles Town
Tara Perry, Dir. of Sales
157 Pimlico Dr.
Charles Town, WV 25414
PH: (304) 725-2200 Fax: (304) 725-2245
Lodging

Hidden Valley Animal Adventure
Nichole Boxler, Mktg. Mgr.
2887 Royce Rd.
Varysburg, NY 14167
PH: (585) 535-4100 Fax: (585) 535-4102
Attraction - Other

Jim Owen Show
Jim Owen, Pres.
323 Clay St.
Branson, MO 65616
PH: (417) 598-3686 Fax: (417) 334-5474
Theater

National Museum of the Marine Corps
Gwenn Adams, Public Relations Dir.
18900 Jefferson Davis Hwy.
Triangle, VA 22172
PH: (703) 784-6134 Fax: (703) 432-0029
Museum

Ohkay Casino Resort Hotel
Laura Dili, Front Office Mgr.
P.O. Box 1270
San Juan Pueblo, NM 87566
PH: (505) 747-1668 Fax: (505) 747-5695
Casino, Lodging

Seminole Casino Coconut Creek
Tammy Duncan, Bus Oprs. Mgr.
5550 N.W. 40th St.
Coconut Creek, FL 33073
PH: (954) 283-2838 Fax: (954) 970-7721
Casino

Stockton Convention & Visitors Bureau
Monica Slingerman, Sales Mgr.
P.O. Box 2336
Stockton, CA 95201
PH: (209) 938-1555 Fax: (209) 938-1554
DMO - Convention & Visitors Bureaus

Washington Wine Academy
Kellie Shevlin, V.P. of Sales & Mktg.
1201 S. Eads St., Ste. 400
Arlington, VA 22202
PH: (202) 288-8898 Fax: (703) 922-6630
Attraction - Other 

QUALIFIED OPERATORS

The following Motorcoach & Tour Operators have submitted application(s) for membership between January 16, 2012 through January 22, 2012 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 abamembership@buses.org.

Doc Holiday Express Inc.
(DOT #: 1104691)
Lori Brown, Pres.
Grand Island, NE

Holiday Tours Inc.
(DOT #: 252234)
Gary Moody, V.P. Sales
Randleman, NC