WASHINGTON, D.C. — More than 3,200 ABA member delegates and industry professionals networked and pursued new business during more than 100,000 scheduled appointments, and raised record sums for charity during the 2010 Capital Region Marketplace Jan. 15-19 at Gaylord National in National Harbor, Md.
“Each one of you made a statement just by coming through the doors,” ABA President & CEO Peter Pantuso, CTIS, said during the official Opening Ceremonies. “Your presence at Marketplace this year reaffirms the value of the motorcoach, tour and travel industry. This is your ABA, and we do what we do for you. A new year means a new start.”
“I want to thank the Gaylord National, and our Capital Region tourism partners and members in Maryland, Virginia and D.C. for helping to host a great Marketplace,” said Frank Montgomery III, CTIS, Marketplace 2010 chairman.
“The energy and excitement of the delegates, the events sponsored by our wonderful hosts and members, and the giving spirit to those in need was unprecedented,” said ABA Chairman Jim Jalbert. “It reaffirmed that ABA is truly an extended family that looks out for each other and the community — whether local or North American.”
ABA delegates helped to raise a record sum for a single Marketplace by donating a total of $45,200 to the Yellow Ribbon Fund for the 2010 “Marketplace Gives Back” charity. YRF helps recuperating soldiers and their families with housing, transportation and other basics. Branson’s Tony Orlando sang “Tie A Yellow Ribbon ‘Round The Ole’ Oak Tree” for the opening ceremonies, met with the audience and visited on the show floor.
ABA’s show also generated nearly $32,000 for disaster relief in Haiti, which included $25,000 from ABA and the ABA Foundation, more than $3,000 from delegates with a matching contribution by Group Sales Box Office, and a $1,000 donation from the National Association of Motorcoach Operators. ABA Foundation events raised $180,000 for the Foundation’s charitable programs, which include 19 annual scholarships and research showing he value of the motorcoach, tourism, and travel industry to society.
Business-booking was brisk among delegates meeting on the Marketplace show floor, which was equal in size to five Wal Mart stores, and displayed 15 new motorcoaches. And in only its third year, the Product Pavilion, the microshow for equipment and service providers to meet operators face-to-face, more than doubled its exhibitor numbers.
Source: American Bus Association