Agents will participate at the Los Angeles-based convention on Feb. 19 and 20, the last two days of the event.
NTA has created a roundtable networking session that allows travel agents to meet with participating tour operators and then visit with destination representatives who secure a tabletop display highlighting their destination and information from supplier partners. In addition to the Feb. 19 session, travel agents can mingle with NTA members at luncheons, education seminars and social functions.
“We opened the dialogue with members about including travel agents 10 months ago at Travel Exchange ’13 in Orlando, and board chair Mark Hoffmann has since discussed the idea during interactive webinars,” said Lisa Simon, CTP, NTA president. “Members made positive comments about this opportunity for new business, so we moved forward and created an NTA program for agent participation.”
To spread the word about the travel agent program at Travel Exchange, NTA is working with the Association of Retail Travel Agents and other agent groups. While all agents are welcome, Simon expects most who attend will come from Southern California.
NTA has relied on the expertise of members to launch the program. Suzanne Slavitter, CTP, CTIE and owner of Lakewood, Calif.-based Sports Empire, chairs the NTA Travel Agent Task Force and sees the program as a positive development both for NTA members and guests.
“Travel agents and tour operators are already great tourism partners,” Slavitter said, “and now we’ve got a place where we can strengthen those relationships while building new business together—Travel Exchange.”