Media Release

Lake County Convention and Visitors Bureau
Hosts Inaugural Group Tour and Travel Summit

National Association Chairman to provide keynote address
Hammond - January 10, 2006 - The Lake County Convention and Visitors Bureau will host a Group Tour and Travel Summit on January 19th at the Ramada Inn and Conference Center in Hammond.  The Summit will offer participants from Northern Indiana's hospitality industry an inside view of group tour opportunities and the potential to expand their involvement in the ever growing motorcoach market.
 The featured keynote speaker for the afternoon luncheon will be Jennifer Hopkins-George, Chairman of the 2006 American Bus Association Marketplace.  Ms. Hopkins brings more than 18 years of motorcoach industry experience to the Summit and looks forward to sharing her expertise with local hospitality leaders.
"Our industry is about leadership, marketing, and creating partnerships for the common cause to increase business," said Hopkins. In addition to her presentation, Hopkins will also participate in the morning round-table opportunities and the industry panel discussions.

"This is an opportunity for our local hospitality industry to sit down with the tour planner one-on-one to discuss current tour and travel trends," said Katie Holderby, Executive Vice President at the Bureau. "You cannot underestimate the impact of face-to-face meetings with tour and meeting planners if you are going to be successful in the sales aspect of this industry." 
 Christine Cash, general manager of Ramada Inn & Conference Center has long reaped the benefits of the group tour market, "Having been in the motorcoach market for more than 20 years I still learn something new every time I meet with a tour operator. The market and the major players change on a daily basis, to remain successful you have to be well informed," she concluded.
The American Bus Association (ABA) is the foremost authority in the tour and travel industry representing more than 1,000 tour operators and 3,000 industry suppliers.  ABA statistical data reveals a fully loaded motorcoach holding 46 passengers on average will contribute up to $7,500 (USD) per day to a local economy. These expenditures include meals, lodging, shopping, admission fees, souvenirs, and local taxes.
The Lake County Convention and Visitors Bureau is a sales and marketing organization that leads and supports the hospitality industry through the marketing and development of the county.