Patricia Rojas-Unger, vice president of public affairs for the U.S. Travel Association, will speak at NAJ’s RTO Summit East next week in New York City, addressing a controversial U.S. State Department proposal which would ask visa applicants to provide details on the social media accounts they have used in the past five years, as well as telephone numbers, email addresses, and international travel during the same period. Rojas-Unger will speak on April 17 during an “in conversation with” session moderated by Jake Steinman and Jason Hackett the first day of the two-day Summit, which will be held in the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel.
The proposed State Department regulation would not affect countries that are a part of the Visa Waiver Program—there are 38 nations in the program—but would affect such key overseas source markets such as China, India and Brazil, as well as all of South America except for Chile. The proposal, which comes from the state department, would require most visa applicants to give details of their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Those affected by the proposed regulation—some 14.7 million people a year—would have to disclose all social media identities used in the past five years. The information would be used to identify and vet those seeking both immigrant and non-immigrant visas.
A Little More than Six Weeks to be Heard: If approved by the Office of Management and Budget, the new rule will expand the vetting process applied to those flagged for extra immigration scrutiny –a policy implemented last year—to every immigrant visa applicant and to non-immigrant visa applicants including business professionals and tourists. The State Department published its notice of request for public comment in the Federal Register on March 30. The comment period on the proposal concludes on May 29, 2018. The notice posted by the State Department indicated that it wants to expand the information it collects by adding questions to its Electronic Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration (DS-260).
Agenda: NAJ’s RTO Summit East
April 17, 2018
9:00-9:05 am: Opening Remarks
9:05-9:30 am: Receptive Operator Channel of Distribution: Evolution or Devolution? How the Receptive Operator Channel of distribution has evolved over the past 40 years. Through bankruptcies, acquisitions, consolidation, and fragmentation the RTO channel has experienced one challenge after another to its existence. Yet, through craftiness, spunk and entrepreneurial spirit, they continue to survive. Presenter: Jake Steinman, Founder of NAJ Group
9:30-10:10 am: The Supplier Panel. A panel of seasoned suppliers whose business depend primarily on the inbound market, discuss trends they see with receptive operators. Panelists: Juan Sepulveda, Director of International Sales, The Roosevelt Hotel; Sheelagh Wylie, Vice President, Business Development & Head of Sales, Midways Attractions, North America, Merlin Entertainment, Stefan Merkel, President, Explore Marketing
10:10-10:30 am: Morning Break
10:30-10:50 am: Case Study—Capital Region USA. Using Social Media Marketing and Targeting to create Demand International for your destination or product. Presenter: Stacey Sheetz, Digital Marketing Director, Capital Region USA
10:50-11:30 am: The DMO Panel. A diverse panel of destinations experts will provide insights into their international marketing strategies as well as…
- How they hold in-country reps’ feet to the fire
- Tips and tricks to get the most out of IPW
- Their opinions of what “Trade show of Future” might include?
Panelists include: Greg Eckhart, Manager Global Sales Asia, Travel Oregon, Jennifer Costa, Director, Elizabeth (NJ) DMO, Greg Edevane, Director of Global Development, The Countryside of Philadelphia
11:30-11:45 am: Thinking Outside the State—How Lake Charles Louisiana partnered with Visit Houston to create an international marketing program that eschews the traditional DMO silo and political norm that prohibits working with out of state entities Presenter: Anne Klenke, Tourism Director, Visit Lake Charles
11:45 am-12:05 pm: Latest Trends that will Affect Chinese Inbound Tourism in 2018-19. For the past 10 years inbound tourism from China has been on a vertical growth trajectory. In addition to the top trends affecting the market, the presenter will also address what, if any, impact the Trump Administration’s recent trade policies may have on inbound tourism from America’s number one emerging market. Presenter: Yiling Pan, Associate Editor, Jing Travel
12:05-12:30 pm: Case Study—What we Learned from Using Facebook Live to stage a Fam Tours and Site for Travel and Meeting Planners. Presenter: Jason Hackett, President, Brier Katama Agency
12:30-2:00 pm: Lunch on own
2:00-2:30 pm: Say What? What we as an Industry Can do to Prevent a New State Department proposal that will require 14 million international visitors to provide their Social Media histories. Patricia Rojas-Ungar, Vice President, Public Affairs, US Travel Association.
2:30-2:45 pm: Forward Thinkers—Faisal Subluban, President and CEO, Bonotel ExclusiveTravel (i)
2:45-3:00 pm: Forward Thinkers—Mark Morello, CEO, AlliedTpro (i)
3:00-3:15 pm: Forward Thinkers—Jack Lok, Advisor, Universal Vision (formerly L&L)
3:15-3:30 pm: Afternoon Break
3:30-5:30 pm: Receptive Insight Roundtables. Invited Receptive Operators include:
- Esther Roth, AlliedTPro
- Suzi Steiger, RMP Travel
- Yves Fore, America & Beyond
- Jack Lok, Founder L&L, Advisor, China Nihao
- Tomás Rey, Rey Royal
- Josephine Formato, AmericanTours International
For more information, visit www.rtosummit.com.