Five Minutes With ... Terry Dale
President & CEO | United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA)
Terry Dale, who was named president of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) in January 2011 and assumed the additional role of Chief Executive Officer in January 2013, is a well-known and respected travel industry leader.
Dale's distinguished career has included positions such as President and CEO of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), Executive Vice President of NYC & Company, President and CEO of the Greater Providence Convention and Visitors Bureau, and President of the New England Society of Convention and Visitors Bureaus.
Today, Dale's responsibilities at USTOA are developing the association's strategic marketing initiatives, leading the association's government advocacy on issues affecting tour operators, and working with other industry decision makers to identify mutual challenges and opportunities. With the distinction of being the third president in USTOA's 50-year history, Dale also serves as a key ambassador and spokesperson for USTOA.
As USTOA marks its 50th anniversary year, Dale is leading the association "50 years forward" by focusing on key issues of sustainability and diversity, equality, and inclusion with creative campaigns to reach members, travel advisors and consumers.
The most interesting travel industry changes I've experienced have been social media and its influence over consumer decisions. Once upon a time, we relied on brochures, guidebooks and select websites for travel information. Now, the entire world is at our fingertips through Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and Facebook. The growth of social media has changed the way the travel industry approaches sharing content and communicating with guests and visitors, as well as the way people travel.
Navigating alongside a global pandemic has presented many challenges and obstacles towards achieving a complete rebound of travel. The recent announcement lifting its requirement for pre-departure COVID-19 testing was very welcomed and applauded news, as it was one of the biggest hurdles for USTOA tour operator members to attain profitability in 2022. Removing the pre-departure testing requirement will incentivize vaccination, increase demand for international travel to and from the U.S., and better align passenger aviation entry requirements with those at U.S. land border points of entry and other major travel-trade partners abroad. It's challenges like these that make USTOA's government advocacy efforts so important and why we will continue to advocate for key issues impacting the industry.
As the industry continues to rebuild, there's an opportunity to look at the return of travel through a more sustainable lens. Tourism leaders and travelers can all be a part of the positive change towards a more sustainable and equitable future. It's our collective duty to tackle the challenges of sustainability together as an industry. It's refreshing to see so many areas of the travel industry—from global companies to individual business, and tourism boards to travel associations—developing programs, initiatives and campaigns to make an impact.
ADVICE TO NEWCOMERS
Travel has a powerful influence over people. This industry is truly a community that cares about the people and destinations that we visit. It's people-to-people, culture-to-culture connections that make us grow, learn and become better global citizens.
Edited by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for Groups Today.
This article originally appeared in the Sep/Oct '22 issue of Groups Today.