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Past Webcast - November 13, 2007
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VT Cast #14: Professional & Trade Associations and VolunTourism

Synopsis

Guests will discuss the connection between VolunTourism and trade and professional associations. What are associations doing to facilitate education and value-added propositions for their members as it relates to VolunTourism? We will explore this subject and others.

[Listen To The Cast] (Click Here To Download)

Guests

Sarah Corradino, Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA.org) [Bio]; Ted Nelson, Heritage Clubs International; and Jim Santini, National Tour Association. [Bio]

Quotables

[Have you had success in the course of the conference (PCMA Annual Conference) in incorporating pre-conference VolunTourism events?]

"Definitely, our Hospitality Helping Hands participants come a day, sometimes two days early to partake in these events. So, the want is definitely there; like I said, it's a great opportunity to network. And it's even a great opportunity for the city because it means increased room-nights for them as far as hotel revenue, resaurant revenue, whatever the case is. So, yes, we've definitely seen a lot of participation and cooperation.

[And on having someone within the CVB to help organize VolunTourism?]

Certainly, it definitely makes sense. I think it's, a lot of it, it's about the bottom line. It has to be proven to be financially viable before they're really going to catch on, but some of them are on board. I think it's just a matter of time. It's becoming, I hate to say it, but it's trendy, it's the thing to do now. So I think a lot of them are going to come on board with the whole Voluntourism concept.

[Which ones would you say were, at least from a standpoint of facilitated service, more easy to work with?]

Oooh... that's a hard question. We're very fortunate because we have, obviously, in each city that we go to we have a huge host committee that establishes their own community service host committee that goes out and helps us find these organizations. A lot of the cities we work with are very cooperative. I think it's asking that service; it's requesting it; it's putting it in your convention contract that you want food donated. It's really just going out there and letting them know what you want. If you're a customer, if you're a client, you should be able to have these services and if they can't provide them then they should be able to refer you to someone that can." Sarah Corradino

[Listen To This Quote]

[Given the examples of the work of NTA and PCMA as it pertains to VolunTourism, how can this possibly work for Heritage Clubs?]

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"As you (David Clemmons, Host) have noticed with all of your work with VolunTourism.org, it's very hard to separate voluntary work from tourism. It's a natural. And the fact that NTA has been doing it for a long time makes perfect sense. The Network for The Needy program (of PCMA) I think was very, very creative and I'm thinking even our small little conference how we could take advantage of that if it exists up in the Minneapolis area. So, yeah, it's great to have that leadership already out there.

The nice thing about what we're doing at Heritage Clubs, I think, is as a small organization, it's very, very nimble. We have an unusual membership in that they're very dedicated to the organization; they're very well connected to it; they're fully engaged; and when we suggest something, they get really excited about it. So, the fact that we'll be able to now bring them a new program, I think, will be terrific. But I am equally as excited about engaging our DMOs that are attending. We have a lot of regional DMOs across the Midwest, and I don't think they have these programs in place right now, but some might, and we'll learn that at the same time. And we'll be able to see in Minneapolis as an example, if we have a half-day where, thirty or forty of our club directors are doing a voluntary program, will they then decide to plan a trip going back to Minneapolis for a two-day program, incorporate that with all their good customers, and what that economic benefit would be to Minneapolis, they'll be able to actually see and track.

The nice thing about organizations being so closely engaged is we can track a lot of things. Make sure we keep aware of what's working and what isn't." Ted Nelson

[Listen To This Quote]

[On the distinction between volunteering in the home office and as part of an incentive trip.]

"I'm excited about this because I helped implement it under the inspired guidance of, I think a long time Buddy of Ted's (Nelson), our incoming and recently installed Chairman & CEO of NTA, Bob Hoelscher. Bob Hoelscher has an obsession with baseball, the symphony, and National Parks. And of the over 390 National Parks, I think he has personally visited over 350 of those National Parks.

Well he got hooked on this voluntourism concept and application to the National Parks' system. And with his missionary zeal, I've set up several meetings in Washington, DC, with the key project planners and implementers at the National Park Service, and as a result in 2008 the Park Service has a special budget allotment, that if they ever get the doggone budget passed for the Department of Interior, will in 2008 bring aboard 40 new, full or part-time coordinators at various National Park destinations for Voluntourism activities at their park site. We have the list of the forty Parks that Park Service, and it kind of goes to your question about size of convention & visitors bureau and adaptation, what Park Service has done has taken, of the 390 National Parks, tried to hone that down to a number in which it would be most likely to have a successful pilot program for voluntourism at that park because of the resources, or the needs, as the case may be, at that particular Park.

And with a coordinator on the ground, Bob Hoelscher and NTA are going to institute a communication with the tour operator members of NTA and point up that one or two projects at these park destinations might be appropriate for 2008 - 2009, and Bob and NTA would help facilitate, coordinate, organize these pilot programs so that we can demonstrate to the entire tour operator industry the feasibility and practicality of making these local Park voluntourism half-day, whatever, activities successful.

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Collette has been successful on their own; I think Tauck has been successful on their own at a couple of Parks; but in terms of industry-wide activity, we've, this is a brand new horizon that we're striking out on and we hope with successful demonstrations that they can work, and do work, and that everybody comes out at a win-win with this new initiative of Hoelscher and NTA." Jim Santini

[Listen To This Quote]

Guest Bios

Sarah Corradino, Manager, Community Relations & Special Events, Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA)

Sarah Corradino joined PCMA in January 2005. Sarah manages PCMA’s Network for the Needy program which includes Hospitality Helping Hands, Party With a Purpose and Service in Sync. She works to establish links between the hospitality industry and local communities in order to promote volunteerism and the donation of excess food and resources from meetings/conventions. Sarah also assists in the planning of PCMA’s networking and educational events such as the Partnership Summit and Executive Edge.

Sarah earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Science degree in Public Service Management from DePaul University in Chicago. She began her career in the healthcare field and just before joining PCMA, she served as a community development volunteer in the United States Peace Corps.

In her free time Sarah enjoys traveling and outdoor activities such as hiking and boating. As a former ESL coach, Sarah also enjoys learning about new cultures and hopes to master a second language by the time she retires.

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Jim Santini, Legislative Counsel, National Tour Association (NTA).

Since 1983, Jim Santini has been the federal legislation and regulation Washington, D.C., representative for the National Tour Association.

Santini has served on the Advisory Board for the Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus and as treasurer of the Executive Committee of the Travel and Tourism Government Affairs Council (TTGAC), Washington, D.C. Prior to his NTA representation, Santini served four terms in the United States Congress as the only member of the House of Representatives from Nevada.

In 1978, Santini was one of the founders and the first secretary/treasurer of the United States Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus in the House of Representatives (287 members). Under Santini’s chairmanship, the Caucus led the legislative charge that produced the first and only National Tourism Policy Act of 1981. This same year, Santini received Travel Industry of America’s Man of the Year in Travel award.

In 1993, Tour and Travel News recognized Santini as one of the industry’s 25 Most Influential Executives, and in 1998, the United States Air Tour Association presented Santini with the Aviation Leadership Award.

Most recently, Santini received the Bob Everidge Lifetime Achievement Award, presented at the 2005 NTA Annual Convention in Detroit. This award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding, ongoing contributions to the association, its members and the industry overall.

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