Republic -- The American Tourism Society (ATS), a marketing
organization focusing on travel to former Iron Curtain countries
and the Middle East, has stepped up its activities overseas and
plans to raise its visibility in the U.S.
Plans call for a
revamped Web site that will launch in January, a more robust
meeting schedule and a new seminar program.
Don Reynolds, the
groups executive vice president, told delegates to the groups fall
meeting here that the Web site will address agent and consumer
needs for destination information and drive those agents and
consumers to ATS tour operator members.
Reynolds said the
ATS turned its attention to the Middle East two years ago as part
of its broader mission of helping break down travel barriers in
areas with special needs.
The ATS was born
in 1987 as the American-Soviet Tourism Society, which Reynolds
described as a protest organization. When the Soviet Union
dissolved, the society regrouped as the ATS and turned its
attention to marketing. It is small (44 members), but its meetings
are not member gatherings, per se. Its most recent session drew 160
participants for a forum that delved into current issues and
challenges for the central European region. There also was a trade
show featuring area travel sellers.
director of the Polish National Tourist Office, said the new Web
site (www.americantourismsociety.org) will highlight tour
companies and provide thumbnail descriptions, with links, of sample
tours offered by member companies.
operator of Global Web Solutions in Metuchen, N.J., is responsible
for the technology. Spinelli, also director of national sales and
e-commerce marketing for Vacation.com, emphasized that the site
will have lots of links, which will be good for your position with
The site will be
rolling out each countrys section by region: first central Europe,
followed by the Baltics, the Middle East and Russia and the
countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
spokesmen updated delegates on the workings of the group, Akel
Biltaji, a former Jordanian minister of tourism, delivered the
two-day sessions most gripping report. He had been driving to the
Grand Hyatt hotel in Amman when terrorists launched an attack there
and at two other hotels.
Biltaji said he
had been invited to spend the evening at the hotel with friends,
but had a previous commitment. On learning of the attack, he raced
there to assess damage and check on the fate of his friends. They
were carrying the bodies out, and I saw the faces of my friends, he
Terror spares no
one, he said. It was a shock to our people, but it was a lesson as
well. There were those who thought it heroic to kill oneself for a
cause. This sympathy was erased.
We want this
message to go to all the world: Well not let them win.
the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Nadine Godwin
at [email protected].