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GTA by Travelport to Participate in National Tour Association China Inbound Program

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GTA by Travelport, one of the world’s leading wholesalers of hotels, ground products and services to the travel industry, today announced that it has been selected to participate in the National Tour Association’s (NTA) China Inbound Program.

Resulting from a Memorandum of Understanding, signed in December 2007 by China and the United States, Chinese leisure group travelers will be able to travel to the U.S. solely through China-based travel agents who work with U.S. tour operators participating in NTA’s China Inbound Program.

GTA will also co-sponsor a gala evening on June 19 in Washington, D.C. to recognize, honor and celebrate the start of leisure group travel from China to the United States. The gala event, hosted by NTA and Travel Industry Association (TIA), specifically marks China’s inaugural leisure group travel tour, which arrived in Washington, D.C. on June 17.

Invited guests include high ranking Chinese and U.S. government officials, and leaders including U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary, Carlos M. Gutierrez; U.S. Department of Commerce Under Secretary, Chris Padilla; U.S. Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary, William G. Sutton; China National Tourism Administration Chairman, Shao Qiwei; as well as TIA, NTA, and other industry executives.

“GTA is pleased to be a participant in NTA’s China Inbound Program and honored to be a co-sponsor of this inaugural gala event. The opportunity for Chinese citizens to visit the U.S. as leisure group travelers bridges cultural divides, fosters a healthy and growing travel environment and promotes economic sustainability to the travel and tourism industry,” said Ken Esterow, President and CEO, GTA. “As a participant in NTA’s China Inbound Program, we are excited to be able to offer a full spectrum of select and personalized tours to this highly anticipated influx of Chinese visitors.”

The UN World Tourism Organization estimates that the number of tourists leaving China has grown by one million people every year since 1998, and in 2006 is expected to reach over 20 million trips (other estimates place this figures closer to 30 million trips). UNWTO forecasts that total outbound travel from China will increase another 75 percent by 2010, and will reach 100 million outbound trips by 2020. According to the U.S. Commerce Department, Chinese (business) travelers on average spend $6,000 per visit to the U.S; more than residents of any other nation.

“This is a significant milestone in the travel sector and NTA is delighted to have played a major role in facilitating this historical agreement — one that will benefit both China and the United States by creating an economic boost to the U.S. travel and tourism industries as well as greatly expanding the burgeoning Chinese travel sector. United States travel destinations will have the ability to market their brands in China, which will increase
visitation and cultural affinities between the two countries as well as strengthen both nations’ travel and tourism markets,” said Lisa Simon, President, NTA. “We look forward to working with GTA by Travelport on the Gala Event and in welcoming this first wave of Chinese visitors in anticipation of the great future ahead in U.S-China tourism and relations.”

The media is invited to attend the reception prior to the Gala Event and must RSVP in advance to Catherine Prather catherine.prather@NTAstaff.com or 800.682.8886, ext. 4264 to obtain clearance.

About GTA

GTA (Gullivers Travel Associates) is a world leader in the provision of ground travel products and services. GTA uses industry-leading online technology to market and distribute global travel content, including more than 23,000 hotels & 3,000 apartments with instant confirmation, in over 130 countries. Other travel services include car hire, sightseeing tours and attractions, private transfers, group travel and rail passes. GTA also
provides online destination information, including 300 extensive city and country travel guides, weather reports, currency conversion and travel health advice. GTA, www.gta-travel.com, is a Travelport brand. Travelport is one of the largest and most geographically diverse travel companies, dedicated to creating the exceptional travel experiences the world demands

About NTA

The National Tour Association is the preferred association in the tourism industry for packaged travel professionals. NTA’s diverse membership and progressive nature make it an industry leader as the place to do business. NTA consistently seeks innovations for the services and business tools it provides to members, and the leadership keeps its fingers on the pulse of the ever- changing world. In turn, NTA members are some of the most creative in the dynamic travel industry. NTA membership represents 34 countries, and tour and travel packagers of all types, including a group, independent, student, and
more. To learn more, please visit www.NTAonline.com.

Media Contacts:
GTA by Travelport
Chris Jones
+44 (0)203 170 4247
mobile: +44 (0)7908 862740
chris.jones@gta-travel.com

NTA
Catherine Prather
800.682.8886
catherine.prather@NTAstaff.com

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