Courier December Courier - Page 10

VOICES OF LEADERSHIP Before he assumes the role of NTA chair this month, Chris Babb makes sure he is current with Courier. Pam Inman President 101 Prosperous Place, Suite 350 Lexington, KY 40509 USA +1.859.264.6551 DECEMBER SEEMS TO come around faster than any other month, doesn’t it? And this year we’ve added another Travel Exchange to the mix, which makes this holiday season even more exciting. Just as all of us on staff enjoy seeing you at Travel Exchange, we also like to welcome visitors to our headquarters in Lexington. Your chair, Jay Smith, and vice chair, Chris Babb, came to town in November to catch up on staff initiatives and to give input on all that you will see at Travel Exchange. Let us know what you think about the new features of our convention, which will include more networking opportunities to do business. The India market is beginning to surge, just like the China market did many years ago, and NTA will be ready to help members understand and capitalize on it. I traveled to India last month for the Tour Operator Roundtable hosted by the India Ministry of Tourism and the U.S. Department of Commerce. This meeting included government officials from both countries and representatives of U.S. and India tour companies who came together to discuss ways that we can make travel—and doing business—easier. Key participants included Isabel Hill, director of the National Travel and Tourism Office, and Patrick Santillo, minister counselor for commercial affairs with Commercial Service India; both are with the U.S. Department of Commerce. And representing India’s Ministry of Tourism was Suman Billa, joint secretary. Joining me on the panel of U.S. tour operators were Akarsh Kolaprath, director, 7M Tours; Tony Marwah, CEO of the India office of SITA World Tours; Sanjith Mukund, Tauck’s product manager, Asia and North Africa; and Prabha Raghava, CEO of Tours Limited. Brand USA held a marketing briefing and a tour of the Visa Waiting Room to show their “Market the Welcome” materials. Visit California was in town on a sales mission and capped off the day’s events by sponsoring a lovely dinner at the Imperial Hotel. Jim Magrath also attended and hosted my trip to India because Delta Air Lines has opened up new service with Jet Airways, which offers connections to 40 destinations in India (and awards Delta SkyMiles in the process). Jim and I met with Pronab Sarkar, president of the India Association of Tour Operators—an NTA Strategic Partner—to discuss opportunities for his involvement with Contact and others ways we can enhance our partnership. I also met with representatives of the Adventure Sports & Ecotourism Expo that will be held in New Delhi in January. I spent my Thanksgiving with family in the beautiful city of Paris (my first visit) and counted my many blessings—not the least of which is the opportunity to work with you and have you as part of the NTA community! I hope your holiday season is going well, and I look forward to enjoying it with hundreds of NTA members in San Antonio. See you soon, NTA chair Jay Smith (left) and vice chair Chris Babb met with Pam Inman and the NTA headquarters staff in Lexington in November. 6 December 2017