NTA Convention '11 runs through Friday in Las Vegas.
NTA, ASTA target U.S. Hispanics' travels
NTA and the American Society of Travel Agents are partnering up on reaching the U.S. Hispanic market for travel.
December 6, 2011
LAS VEGAS – The United States’ burgeoning Hispanic population has led NTA to partner with the American Society of Travel Agents to target the ethnic groups' travels.
The two associations today announced a partnership to tap into the growing market, which reached 50.5 million people in the U.S. in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
“We talk about China and Brazil as growth markets,” NTA President Lisa Simon said. But the Hispanic market “is a very important growth market without the barriers.”
The collaborative effort was rolled out in a news conference during NTA Convention ’11 at Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. Lexington, Ky.-based NTA and Alexandria, Va.-based ASTA touted the push with support from the Miami-based Latin Chamber of Commerce of the United States and the Mexico Tourism Board.
“It’s about working with the influence of friends and families in developing the market,” said Tony Gonchar, ASTA CEO. “It’s less TripAdvisor and more my cousin has been there. It’s the concept of recommendation.”
The joint NTA-ASTA task force is being chaired by Olga Ramudo, president of Miami-based Express Travel and a member of both associations. Its membership is to be drawn from both organizations, and will include a Mexico Tourism Board member, officials said.
“I am … passionate about this market,” Ramudo said. “I think the potential for the tourism industry is enormous.”
Besides research into the somewhat segmented market, the partnership expects to develop educational, training, networking and business development programs to tap the minority audience – the largest in the U.S.
There are more Hispanics in the U.S. “than Canadians in Canada,” said Kelly McDonald, owner of Dallas-based McDonald Marketing. “These are shifting demographics. The U.S. is the second largest Hispanic community in the world behind Mexico.”
Mexico has a population of 108.7 million. The next largest Hispanic-dominant nations after the U.S. are Colombia (44.4 million), Spain (40.4 million) and Argentina (40.3 million), McDonald said.
With estimates that U.S. Hispanics’ purchasing power will reach $1.3 trillion in the next three years, ASTA Chairwoman-President Nina Meyer termed it “vital that we as an industry recognize what resonates with this market segment and what motivates them to travel.”
The first event in the combined effort is a Jan. 25 webinar offered by ASTA with researcher Laura Mandala about the market. It is expected to be free to ASTA and NTA members and for a fee to others, officials with both associations said.
Ramudo sees the partnership as a potential jobs creator.
“The numbers are powerful,” she said. “They are there. …
“This initiative will promote the growth of tourism among Hispanics.”
The NTA Convention opened Monday and runs through Friday.
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