For the second time in five years, the American Bus Association will be visiting Charlotte to hold its Marketplace convention and tradeshow, Jan. 5 -9.

More than 3,000 delegates will be attending the ABA’s 35th Marketplace.At Marketplace, delegates will hold more than 100,000 face-to-face business meetings with people from all across North America to potentially book hundreds of millions of customers to destinations and hotels in the U.S. and Canada. They also will take advantage of professionally run educational programs and network with fellow business leaders.

At the ABA’s Marketplace in Grapevine, Texas, in 2012, the economic consulting firm John Dunham and Associates of New York reported that Marketplace generated more than $78 million in total business at the event as well as future economic activity

In 2011, the travel and tourism sector of the economy expanded at a rate of 3.5%, while overall growth was 1.7%.

Among the highlights at ABA’s Marketplace:

  • The opportunity for motorcoach operators to meet face-to-face in more than 100,000 pre-scheduled appointments with tour planners, hotels and CVBs and their travel partners to book millions of dollars’ worth of business.
  • The ABA Foundation will host both a live and a silent auction to raise money for industry research and scholarship initiatives. More than 160 items including resort vacations, signed celebrity memorabilia, group tour packages and other items will be available. Plus the live auction of two brand new motorcoaches will generate some buzz among attendees on Jan. 6.
  • This year the Foundation will also present tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships to 20 students who may pursue an education and career in the tourism and travel industry.
  • A meeting of the Bus Industry Safety Council (BISC), where leading safety and security experts in the motorcoach industry discuss the best ways to make travel by motorcoach, already the safest form of surface transportation, even safer.
  • Of critical importance to motorcoach owners and operators, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will hold two listening session on ways motorcoach companies can improve when it comes to hiring and training new drivers. The sessions will be Monday, Jan. 7 from 9 a.m. to 11a.m and 2 p.m. to 4p.m.
  • ABA members also will again this year assist a well deserving Charlotte area non-profit, “A Child’s Place.” Last year they provided educational assistance and other services for the more than 4,000 school age children in the community who at one time or another became homeless. ABA members will raise money for A Child’s Place by participating in a bowling event on Sunday, Jan. 6 from 9:30 p.m. to midnight. There are also other activities planned at Marketplace to benefit “A Child’s Place.” 
  • In addition to the business and networking of Marketplace, there also will be entertainment for the members and their guests including a number of area sightseeing tours, evening events and other networking opportunities. Entertainers from Broadway and Branson will delight delegates during two all delegate lunches during Marketplace.
  • On Sunday, Jan. 6, Visit NC will host the delegates at Discovery Place. On Monday, Jan. 7 there is the “Rev it Up at the NASCAR Hall of Fame” party, sponsored by Visit Charlotte.

From Limousine, Charter & Tour Magazine, Jan. 2, 2013

 

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