Ready for Change: One on One with Pam Inman, NTA
Photo courtesy of the National Tour Association
Pam Inman assumed the duties of president of the National Tour Association in September 2014 after serving for 10 years as the executive vice president and chief operating officer of the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA).
A 25-year travel industry veteran, Inman previously directed the Tennessee Hotel and Lodging Association and the Nashville Hotel and Lodging Association and worked 10 years in the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.
Now after a year and a half on the job, Inman’s contract has been extended for three more years. TravelPulse spoke to Inman after the association’s annual Travel Exchange event, which was held in Atlanta in January about her plans for NTA.
TravelPulse: Now that your contract has been extended through 2019, can you tell us about your plans for NTA?
Pam Inman: I’m excited. We’ve got a lot of good momentum, a lot of good things going on with the China market, with faith travel and the Hispanic market as well. So we’ve got a lot of good growth.
TP: It’s obvious that the association is becoming much more international. What’s your focus now? How would you define your mission?
PI: NTA has a 10-year vision to be the global packaged travel association. But with that said we have three priorities: to retain members, to grow the membership and to continue to expand on the international front while we shore up North America. We still have so many members who do strictly North America, so we’re not going to abandon that at all. We’re going to strengthen both markets at the same time.
TP: Are there many conflicts between the international and the national objectives?
PI: No conflicts. It’s just that you want to make sure we continue to serve the tour operators that are members because of the North American market and make sure their needs are met.
READ MORE: NTA Has Big Plans for 2015 and Beyond
We’re beginning to do a lot more with Canada. We have quite a few Canadian members. You know we lobby Congress for our U.S. members, but I’ve also reached out to our Canadian members, the head of Destination Canada and the head of the Canadian Travel Industry Association, to say if there is anything that NTA can do with Parliament to help further your mission, whatever we could do, we offer our resources. We would be glad to do that. Let us know. They were very receptive. They responded very favorably, but nothing has transpired yet.
TP: Where do you see growth areas for the association?
PI: We are really growing everywhere internationally. We had five more countries represented at Travel Exchange this year. We have a total of 44 countries that are members now.
TP: You mean the countries themselves, the destination marketing organizations?
PI: Correct. And we also have members in those countries.
TP: Where are you growing most? Asia? Africa? Europe?
PI: I’m not sure if one area is growing more than another. At Travel Exchange in Atlanta last week we had representatives from Vietnam, Scotland, Australia, South Africa — just all around.
TP: So what's coming up for NTA in the immediate future?
I think one of the most important things to note about NTA at this time is that it is not afraid to change. We’ve been around for 65 years, and yet we’re not afraid to change and do things differently than what’s been done in the past. We are always looking at ways to reinvent ourselves.
One of the things that we’ll launch in a few months is a new website that will look very different. We’re excited about that. The board saw the mockup and approved the direction we’re going. So we’ll be excited to launch that, probably in a couple of months. It’s so user friendly even I can use it.
Another thing we’re doing, as is everybody else, we’re going more with digital media in our promotional efforts. We were very successful with some of the tests we did to promote Travel Exchange, so we’ll continue to expand our digital media presence.
Our board meeting will be in April and we will have a strategic planning session with Leadership Synergies, the same company they used a few years ago. So we’re going to revisit our entire strategic plan. I think that’s exciting. We’ll take a look and make sure we’re headed exactly where we need to be headed.
More by David Cogswell
Get Travel Deals and Travel News
Recent Travel Opinions