WRTA’s overall mission is simple and clear: We will advise and assist the travel industry in working with the religious market, and establish faith-based vacations as a key travel option for the religious consumer
Littleton, CO (PRWEB) January 29, 2007
Two of the most recognized faith-based travel industry authorities have launched the World Religious Travel Association (WRTA) (http://www.religioustravelassociation.com ) to advise, build and connect the $18 billion worldwide religious travel industry. Kevin J. Wright (President, Religious Market Consulting Group) and Honnie Korngold (President, Christian Travel Finder) have established the organization in response to the growing demand for faith-based vacations and the increasing number of tourism companies entering or expanding their presence within the industry.
“WRTA’s overall mission is simple and clear: We will advise and assist the travel industry in working with the religious market, and establish faith-based vacations as a key travel option for the religious consumer,” said Kevin J. Wright, Executive Director of WRTA.
The association comes at a pivotal stage in the burgeoning faith-based travel industry that, according to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), is one of the fastest growing travel segments. In November, 2006, the Travel Industry Association of America released survey findings that “one-quarter (25%) of travelers said they were currently interested in taking a spiritual vacation (e.g., religious retreat, pilgrimage), and that the appeal of a spiritual vacation spans the ages, with approximately one-third of each age group (18 – 34 years old, 35 – 54 years old and 55+) expressing current interest in taking such a vacation.” In October 2006, the International Conference on Religious Tourism (ICORET), held in Cyprus, estimated the size of the faith-based travel industry at $18 billion. In November 1998, the World Travel Market in London released research that identified faith-based travel as one of the top critical issues and trends in travel and tourism in the 21st century.
The World Religious Travel Association (WRTA) will serve as the primary organization dedicated to leading, enriching, and expanding the global faith-based travel Industry. With an initial focus on the North American religious market and consumer, the association plans to expand throughout the world as emerging markets mature and consumer demand increases. The three major goals of the association are:
- Advise and assist the worldwide travel industry in marketing, selling and developing product for the North American religious market and consumer.
- Build faith-based vacation and travel ministry opportunities for North American religious consumers.
- Connect the worldwide travel industry and the North American religious consumer (via various channels, venues and networking opportunities).
All seven segments of the $18 billion worldwide religious tourism industry are represented in the association: (1) Tour operators, cruise lines, and travel wholesalers (2) Travel suppliers and vendors (3) Travel agencies and consortiums (4) Religious suppliers and vendors (5) Churches and religious/non-profit organizations (6) Individuals and clergy (7) Media.
Among its many benefits, the new association will provide its members with the following market services and opportunities: leadership, networking, education, media (publicity), research, job market, advertising, consulting, travel ministry programs, and faith-based vacations. In addition, WRTA will promote every aspect of religious travel including escorted touring, cruising, missionary travel, adventure trips, FIT/Independent travel, attractions, retreats, conferences, and conventions/meetings. Memberships for the association include both trade and consumer, and feature a variety of level options. WRTA also will feature an Advisory Board, and is currently finalizing a select group of Charter Members.
WRTA also will launch the first-ever awards for the religious travel, tourism and hospitality industry. Winners will be announced in December, 2007 and will include categories such as “Tour Operator of the Year,” “Travel Agent of the Year,” “Religious Attraction of the Year,” “Religious Destination of the Year,” “Religious Travel Story of the Year,” “Religious Travel Professional of the Year,” and “Travel Ministry Program of the Year.” Beginning Jan. 29, members and non-members alike can place their votes at http://www.religioustravelassociation.com.
In September 2008, WRTA will host its first annual World Religious Travel Expo. In addition to providing a full schedule of seminars, the Expo will offer an excellent opportunity for companies and organizations to showcase their religious tourism products and services to the trade and consumer. For churches, religious organizations and individuals, the Expo will provide a tremendous opportunity for visiting numerous companies and organizations involved in religious tourism and hospitality -- all within one setting. For the media, it will serve as “the event of the year” for reporting on the faith-based travel industry. The Expo (http://www.religioustravelexpo.com) is expected to feature a sold-out crowd of more than 1,000 exhibitors and attendees from around the globe.
“Among our many initiatives, education will be at the forefront of the Association and Expo,” said Honnie Korngold, Vice President of WRTA. “Our goal is to not only educate the trade about faith-based travel, but also the consumer -- for example, educating pastors and religious group leaders themselves about the value and benefits of traveling together as a community.”
WRTA is now accepting membership applications. To learn more about the Association or to register your individual or organization membership, visit http://www.religioustravelassociation.com (all registrations are completed on-line). Or, you can call WRTA at 1-800-657-1288.
About the World Religious Travel Association (WRTA)
The World Religious Travel Association (WRTA) is the world’s primary organization dedicated to leading, enriching, and expanding the faith-based travel industry. WRTA exists to bring the worldwide trade and North American religious consumer together for the primary purpose of promoting and providing quality religious travel experiences around the globe. All seven segments of the $18 billion worldwide religious tourism industry are represented: (1) Tour operators, cruise lines, and travel wholesalers (2) Travel suppliers and vendors (3) Travel agencies and consortiums (4) Religious suppliers and vendors (5) Churches and religious/non-profit organizations (6) Individuals and clergy (7) Media. WRTA’s vision and mission is to provide the following religious travel market services and opportunities: Leadership, Networking, Education, Media, Research, Job Market, Advertising, Consulting, Travel Ministry, and Faith-based Vacations. The WRTA will host the 1st Annual World Religious Travel Expo in September 2008. To learn more about the Association or to register your company, organization, or individual membership on-line (all registrations must be completed on-line), visit http://www.religioustravelassociation.com. Or, contact WRTA at 1-800-657-1288.
Christine Moore, epiphany media
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