July 10, 2009

Religious Travel Buzz Newsletter (July 10)

Lead Story: WRTA Launches e-Library with 2,500+ Faith Tourism News Stories
How would you like immediate access to more than 2,500 top news stories and articles on faith tourism from 1998 through 2008 - and all categorized for your convenience? It's now possible. WRTA has just assembled and debuted the most comprehensive, categorized database of religious travel news stories on the Internet. More than 70 categories have been assigned and classified. All WRTA Members have access to this invaluable resource.

Top News Stories from WRTA, Members, and the Religious Travel Industry
3 Major Religious Travel Events in 2010
1. Breaking News! Pope Benedict just announced: Shroud of Turin will be displayed in 2010 2. Oberammergau hosts Passion Play
3. Holy Year in Santiago de Compostela - 10 million visitors expected

News Stories featuring WRTA Members
(Member: Jordan Tourism) Following Faith
(Member: Israel Tourism) Israel declares Holy Land refocus
(Member: Passport Health) Taking the bite out of travel - Wall St. Journal
(Member: Globus) Globus Predicts Growth In Faith-Based Vacations for 2010

New Stories featuring interviews with WRTA
Religious tourism is bright spot in downturn (AME Info/Middle East News)
Pilgrims boost luxury tourism (The National/United Arab Emirates)
Following Faith (Jo Publication/Jordan)
Millions opt for religious tourism (The Portugal News Online)
NTA Convention brings Faith-based Market to Delegates (Press Release)

More News Stories in Faith Tourism
Colorado: Thank God for Conventions (Coloradoan)
Florida: Holy Land Trips in Florida?
Missouri: Faithful flock to Springfield (News Leader)
North Carolina: Winston-Salem targets religious groups for tourism dollars (Fox 8 News)
The RCMA Survey: The Religious Meetings Market

France: Pilgrimage to Chartres (PBS)
India: Kashmir Pilgrimage gets under way
Iraq has huge potential for religious tourism
Nepal and Religious Tourism (Travel and Leisure Magazine)
Poland: Study religious tourism in Krakow
Spiritual retreats cater to the mind, body, and soul
Summer missions: A Pastor's Checklist
Turkey: Destinations to discover in Turkey

New! Special Tours, Vacations, and Events
Welcome to the newest section of Religious Travel Buzz! With each future issue of "the Buzz," WRTA will feature select tours, vacations, and events for publication. This new section will enable travel agents, planners, and other buyers to discover special deals and itineraries that exist in faith tourism. If you wish to submit a trip/event for possible publication, here are the three criteria:
• Your company must be a current WRTA Member.
• Your company must be registered as a Tour Operator, Destination, or Supplier member (Note: Travel agent and planners do not qualify)
• Your tour, vacation, or event must feature one or both of the following attributes: - Feature some form of discount or other related incentive (i.e. special commissions). - Feature a very unique itinerary, vacation, or event.

Here are this week's chosen sample trips and events:
Mission Travel Group Hosting group trips to the 3 major religious travel events in 2010
MTS Travel A Pilgrimage to England with The Order of Julian of Norwich
Royal Caribbean: Holy Land Cruise with special deals

Are You a Religious Travel Expert? Take the Faith Tourism Quiz
Want to find out if you're "cutting edge" in today's religious travel industry?
Take the short 5 question quiz below and test your expertise level.

1. Who developed the world's first escorted group travel company?
(Hint: He was a Methodist minister from England).

2. What are the two largest religious groups in the U.S. market?

3. Name three reasons and/or "motives" behind religious travel purchases.

4. (True or False question) The Seven Churches of Revelation are located in Israel.

5. (True or False question) People of faith embark on a wide variety of leisure group vacations such as cruises and safaris.

How can you find the answers to the above questions?
Review your Religious Travel Market Educational Course (only Members have access). If you haven't studied and mastered the nearly 40-page educational course on faith tourism, now is the time. All success in religious travel begins with understanding today's marketplace.

Are You Maximizing Your Member Benefits?
Fill Out Your Own Report Card
Time for report cards. How do you think you and/or your company is doing in maximizing your WRTA Membership benefits? Would you give your company an "A" for a top grade or an "F" for failing.....or something in-between? Find out by filling out your own Membership Report Card.

Expo 2009 Update: More than 50 Booths Sold! Are You Registered Yet?
Despite challenging times in the travel industry, the World Religious Travel Expo is on target for welcoming more delegates than last year's historic inaugural 2008 Expo. In the past 3 months alone, more than 50 exhibit booths have been sold. Multiple Expo sponsorships have also been sold including among others the German National Tourist Office, Leipzig Tourism and Marketing Company, Routes to Luther, Reno-Tahoe CVA, Theatre Direct International, and Hilmar Cheese Company Visitor Center.

If your organization has not yet registered to attend or exhibit at this celebrated event, call WRTA today and secure your spot. Best locations on the tradeshow floor are quickly disappearing along with top sponsorship opportunities.

Just for Fun - Faith Tourism Links Galore
2009 Religious Travel Buyer's Guide
Brochure: Sponsorship and Exhibitor Guide to Expo 2009
Guidebooks: The Christian Travel Planner
Guidebooks: Catholic Shrines of Western Europe
Guidebooks: Europe's Monastery & Convent Guesthouses
Guidebooks: Marian Shrines of the United StatesVideos from WRTA Members
Video: Discover the World of Faith Tourism
Video: Experience the World Religious Travel Expo
Website: World Religious Travel Expo