NTA Members Vote to Reject Proposed Name Change

An amendment proposing to officially change the name of the National Tour Association was defeated.

An amendment proposing to officially change the name of the National Tour Association to CrossSphere, the Global Association of Packaged Travel, was defeated by a vote of 320 to 94. A two-thirds majority was needed to make the name change official. Since a majority of the association members opposed the change, the association will once again be known as the National Tour Association.

As part of a rebranding effort, NTA announced in November 2004 that they were changing their name to CrossSphere, the Global Association of Packaged Travel. But the change was met with resistance when a 60-person leadership team was presented with a petition signed by 201 tour operators opposing the name change. The board of directors then decided to open the decision up to a bylaw vote and ultimately, the name change was overturned.

“This decision speaks loudly in support of the tradition and heritage of the association, both of which came out of our initial brand examination,” said Hank Philips, CTP, president of NTA. “Although the name was in question, the core values, benefits and direction of this association have remained the same.”

Radisson Seven Seas Adds
Fuel Surcharge Radisson Seven Seas Cruises quietly implemented a fuel surcharge, making the luxury operator the first North American-based cruise line to do so.
Radisson is charging $2.85 per person, per day, on bookings that were made after Feb. 18.

It also is applying the charge to bookings made before Feb. 18 but not paid in full for sailings from early May to the end of 2005.

In addition, the line is assessing fuel surcharges for air arrangements to Tahiti or Europe that are booked through the cruise line. Those charges range from $19 to $40 each way for passengers who were not paid in full by Feb. 18.

“The fuel charges actually do not include the current spike we have had in fuel costs,” said Radisson CEO Mark Conroy. “The charge was carefully calculated to cover the actual increases we have realized since our pricing was set.”

Hilton Changes Commission Cycle
Based on agent feedback, Hilton Hotels began making its commission payments to travel agents on a weekly basis.

Hilton said agents would continue to receive detailed reports with each payment, and as part of the new payment schedule, most travel agencies outside the U.S. will be offered new direct deposit options for commission payments.

S.F. Agency, NCL Named in Lawsuit
Passengers on a charter cruise of NCL’s Pride of Aloha brought a class-action lawsuit against the travel agency that organized the trip. The agency, Blue World Travel, in San Francisco, filed a cross-complaint against NCL, also seeking damages and complaining that NCL undermined a reputation that the agency spent years building.

The plaintiffs alleged that during an Aug. 8, 2004, sailing the ship experienced severe staffing problems and that the crew could not provide adequate meal service, cleaning services or safety drills.

Plaintiffs also said the agency knew of these problems and should have warned clients.

NCL declined, as a matter of policy, to comment on pending litigation.