The 9th Annual National Tour Association (NTA) Grassroots Symposium took place in Washington, DC last week. More than 30 NTA members participated in this three-day event, which focused on meetings with more than 50 key contacts in Congress.

Symposium delegates met with Congressional leaders to promote NTA’s seven advocacy priority issues. These issues, which were approved by the NTA Board in February, align with the issues that emerged from the December 2008 Tourism Economic Summit. The attendees also were briefed on tourism prospects in the 2009 meeting of the 111th Congress by Senator Mark Begich, D-Alaska, House Tourism Caucus Co-Chair Sam Farr, D-California, and US-VISIT Director Bob Mocny.

“The NTA Symposium was the first organized travel group to visit the Hill since the new administration came into office,” said NTA chairman and CEO Michele Michalewicz, CTP. “It was scheduled earlier in the year, compared to years past in order to meet with the new Congressional leadership to get travel on the agenda early in 2009. We know that the new administration is looking for solutions to aid the economy, so this year’s symposium gave us a great opportunity to make the voice of travel and tourism heard.”

Attendees met with members and/or staff of the Senate Majority Leader, the Senate Minority Leader, the Speaker of the House, the House Majority Leader, the House Tourism Caucus Co-Chairs, and many chairs and ranking members of both House and Senate committees and subcommittees.

“NTA members addressed issues that impact travel and tourism such as marketing funding issues, transportation, visas, entry/exit procedures, National Parks and public lands, and freedom to travel to Cuba,” added Michalewicz. “With the help of its Grassroots Action Network, NTA will continue to work on these issues throughout the year.”

Travel professionals interested in learning how they can actively address these issues year-round are encouraged to take part in the Grassroots Action Network. This is the industry’s most comprehensive permanent travel and tourism advocacy network.