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The United States Tour Operators Association (UstoA) held its Annual Conference and Marketplace Dec. 5-7 at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Hotel in Scottsdale, Ariz., with more than 800 industry professionals in attendance. Terry Dale, president and CEO of USTOA, said that the coming year will be an exciting one.
Dale’s optimism stems from his confidence in the 2014 board of directors, who were announced at the USTOA conference. Five of the board members serve as the association’s executive committee: Jerre Fuqua, president of Travcoa and YMT Vacations, as chairman; Paula Twidale, executive vice president of Collette Vacations, as vice chair; Dana Santucci, vice president of development at EF Institute for Cultural Exchange/Go Ahead Tours, as treasurer; Harry Dalgaard, president of Avanti Destinations, as secretary and marketing committee chair; and John Hanratty, senior vice president of Mark Travel Corporation, as immediate past chair. Newcomers to the board include Olle Olsson, founder and chairman of Explorica, and Linda Springmann, vice president of Alaska Marketing at Holland America Line.
The USTOA also announced the results of its annual member survey of travel forecasts and trends, which reports double-digit growth in 2013 for a majority of tour operators and predicts a boom year for 2014. Nearly 90 percent of respondents experienced an increase in business compared to 2012. More than 90 percent of participants anticipate an increase in sales and almost 60 percent forecast a boom year with growth of 7 percent or more in 2014.
The 2014 USTOA conference will take place in Boca Raton, Fla., Dec. 5-7 at the Boca Raton Resort. www.ustoa.com