WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American Bus Association is arriving in just days to St. Louis and the America’s Center for Marketplace, January 10-13, 2015. In terms of size, economic impact and quality of membership, ABA and Marketplace is one of the industry’s largest shows for motorcoach operators, tour operators, and travel and tour industry professionals.
At Marketplace, delegates are projected to have more than 100,000 face-to-face business meetings with people from across North America. More than 3,000 delegates will book tens of millions of dollars’ worth of business to destinations, attractions, and hotels in the United States and Canada. There are also more than 40 professionally run educational programs and networking opportunities with fellow business leaders.
ABA’s Marketplace is the first motorcoach, travel and tourism industry trade show of the year. It sets the tone for the entire year. The 2014 Marketplace in Nashville, Tenn., generated nearly $130 million in total booked business. That is a 19% increase over 2013.
More People Are Riding Motorcoaches
DePaul University of Chicago and the school’s Chaddick Institute will release its annual report showing the eighth consecutive year of growth for the scheduled service, point-to-point segment of the motorcoach industry. The report will also detail why free onboard amenities including Wi-Fi and 110 volt electric plug-ins, along with upgraded luxury service, are expanding.
The Economy Grows When People Travel By Motorcoach
Research by the respected ABA Foundation shows motorcoach travel and tourism generates as many as 1.4 million jobs in communities across the United States, paying over $62 billion in wages and benefits. The U.S. Travel Association reports direct spending in the U.S. by domestic and international travelers was up nearly 4% in 2013 to $880 billion.
Highlights of ABA’s Marketplace:
- After six years of service to ABA, three as Chairman and three as Vice-Chairman, Tom JeBran is stepping down as Chairman. He will continue to serve on the Board of Directors. During Marketplace, the Board and ABA’s membership will select a new Chairman and Vice-Chairman.
- The ABA Foundation will host both a live and silent auction to raise money for industry research and scholarship initiatives. Resort vacations, signed celebrity memorabilia, and other items will be available.
- There is an annual winter meeting of the Bus Industry Safety Council (BISC), presented by the ABC Companies. Leading safety and security experts in the industry discuss the best ways to make travel by motorcoach even safer.
- Also meeting will be ABA’s Women in Buses Council, the Hispanic Motorcoach Council, Trailways, Entertainer Motorcoach Council and various state and regional motorcoach associations.
- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will hold two listening sessions on “Requirements for State Inspection Programs for Passenger Carrying Vehicles,” part of the agency’s implementation of MAP-21. The sessions will be on Tuesday, January 13, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and again from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Participants are encouraged to share their views with FMCSA at those sessions.
- ABA Media, Motor Coach Industries (MCI), Metro Magazine, BusRide Magazine, and Serendipity Media will also present several awards. The awards will recognize individuals and companies that have demonstrated leadership and innovation in the motorcoach, travel, and tourism industry. The Bus Industry Safety Council will also present the first “Norm Littler Safety Award.” The award will recognize an individual or company that is making a significant contribution to motorcoach passenger safety. The award honors the late ABA Vice President for Safety and Regulatory Affairs, who died in 2013.