The American Bus Association (ABA) is a trade association for motorcoach operators and tour companies in the United States and Canada. Its membership consists of about 1,000 companies that operate buses or bus-based tours, about 2,800 organizations representing the travel and tourism industry, and several hundred suppliers of buses and related products and services. Its headquarters is in Washington, D.C.
A trade association, also known as an industry trade group, business association, sector association or industry body, is an organization founded and funded by businesses that operate in a specific industry. An industry trade association participates in public relations activities such as advertising, education, political donations, lobbying and publishing, but its focus is collaboration between companies. Associations may offer other services, such as producing conferences, networking or charitable events or offering classes or educational materials. Many associations are non-profit organizations governed by bylaws and directed by officers who are also members.
Tourism is travel for pleasure or business; also the theory and practice of touring, the business of attracting, accommodating, and entertaining tourists, and the business of operating tours. Tourism may be international, or within the traveller's country. The World Tourism Organization defines tourism more generally, in terms which go "beyond the common perception of tourism as being limited to holiday activity only", as people "traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure and not less than 24 hours, business and other purposes".
A bus is a road vehicle designed to carry many passengers. Buses can have a capacity as high as 300 passengers. The most common type of bus is the single-deck rigid bus, with larger loads carried by double-decker and articulated buses, and smaller loads carried by midibuses and minibuses; coaches are used for longer-distance services. Many types of buses, such as city transit buses and inter-city coaches, charge a fare. Other types, such as elementary or secondary school buses or shuttle buses within a post-secondary education campus do not charge a fare. In many jurisdictions, bus drivers require a special licence above and beyond a regular driver's licence.
The organization was founded in 1926 as the Motor Bus Division of the American Automobile Association. It was reorganized in 1930 as the National Association of Motor Bus Operators, and in 1960 changed its name to National Association of Motor Bus Owners. It adopted its present name in 1977.
The American Automobile Association is a federation of motor clubs throughout North America. AAA is a privately held non-profit national member association and service organization with over 58 million members in the United States and Canada. AAA provides services to its members, including roadside assistance and others. Its national headquarters are in Heathrow, Florida.
The organization has four types of members:
Motorcoach Operators - Companies that own motorcoaches and provide privately contracted services such as charters, tours, sightseeing, scheduled service, airport express service, school bus service, and/or local receptive operations. (The membership does not include public transport bus services.)
Public transport bus services are generally based on regular operation of transit buses along a route calling at agreed bus stops according to a published public transport timetable.
Tour Operators - Companies that organize tours without owning equipment. They offer packaged travel by arranging transportation for hotels, attractions and other travel suppliers. Their tours are primarily to locations away from the company's hometown.
Travel Industry Members - Tourism-related companies and organizations that work in partnership with the North American motorcoach industry. They include travel and tourism companies, convention and visitor bureaus, destination marketing organizations, accommodations, attractions, food service organizations, and tourism service professionals such as receptive operators who specialize in tour planning for a local area.
A destination organization, often referred to as a destination marketing or management organization, convention and visitors bureau or tourism board, is responsible for promoting a community as an attractive travel destination and enhancing its public image as a dynamic place to live and work. Through the impact of travel, they strengthen the economic position and provide opportunity for people in their community.
Lodging refers to the renting of a short-term dwelling. People who travel and stay away from home for more than a day need lodging for sleep, rest, food, safety, shelter from cold temperatures or rain, storage of luggage and access to common household functions. Lodging is a form of the sharing economy.
A tourist attraction is a place of interest where tourists visit, typically for its inherent or an exhibited natural or cultural value, historical significance, natural or built beauty, offering leisure and amusement.
Associate Members - Manufacturers and suppliers of buses and bus-related products and services.
The American Bus Association represents the business concerns of both U.S. and Canadian privately owned motorcoach and tour operators. ABA represents the U.S. bus industry in Washington, DC, and supports the government affairs activities of its Canadian members and counterpart associations. ABA facilitates relationships between the North American motorcoach industry and all related segments of the travel and supplier industry. In addition, ABA creates awareness of the motorcoach industry among consumers in North America (USA, Canada and Mexico), and communicates publicly on important issues like motorcoach and highway safety.
For its members, the ABA provides networking and business development opportunities, government advocacy, and information about its industry. It works to connect members in several segments of the motorcoach, tour and travel community. For the traveling public, it works to assure safe, pleasant, and economical experiences when traveling by bus. Its specific activities include:
ABA Annual Meeting & Marketplace. Holds this annual convention, which is a major event for the group travel industry. It is held in a different city each year, with a typical attendance of about 3,000 people. The meeting presents an annual opportunity for members of the group travel and motorcoach industry to build business relationships, view new products and services, learn about the latest industry trends, and develop personal networks. The Marketplace features a highly organized series of opportunities for attendees to meet face-to-face in prescheduled seven-minute appointments. Other Marketplace events include professional education seminars, exhibits provided by suppliers, and familiarization tours of attractions in the host city.
Bus Industry Safety Council. The mission of the Bus Industry Safety Council is to continually raise the level of safety in the intercity bus and motorcoach industry through collaborative efforts of professionals in a workshop and educational environment.
Bus Maintenance & Repair Council. The Bus Maintenance and Repair Council (BusMARC) addresses the need for continuing maintenance education and compliance training as well as provide a new venue for equipment, parts and service providers to interact with the bus industry.
Entertainer Motorcoach Council. The mission and purpose of the Entertainer Motorcoach Council is to inspire a level of confidence in the safety, reliability, and quality of service for the operations of entertainer coaches employed on a charter or lease basis; actively promote the high quality services of EMC members; and more.
Hispanic Motorcoach Council. The Hispanic Motorcoach Council endeavors to promote the continued growth, fellowship and development of the Hispanic business community in the motorcoach industry. It will do this by serving as a resource center and forum to promote safe motorcoach operations, encourage interaction among operators and transportation planners, and advocate for Hispanic and minority-owned businesses.
Women in Buses Council. Women in Buses Council is to recognize and advance the role of women in the motorcoach industry through networking, education and mentoring programs.
Publications. Publishes Destinations magazine, an important glossy magazine in the tour and travel industry, which includes the annual Best of the Best issue, and The Insider, a biweekly newsletter for members and others. Compiles and distributes The ABA Motorcoach Marketer, an annual member directory and travel guide. Publishes Marketplace Today, which is the official publication of ABA's Annual Meeting & Marketplace.
Continuing education. Sponsors the Certified Travel Industry Specialist (CTIS) program, providing motorcoach and group travel professionals with industry-specific education and credentialing. The education is provided through correspondence courses at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis and attendance at specialized ABA educational seminars. Conducts webinars online, and educational talks and seminars at its annual Marketplace event.
Awards. Sponsors a Lifetime Achievement Award for individuals who have made major contributions to the motorcoach, tourism, and hospitality industry, and a Kaleidoscope Award for individuals or organizations that have directly impacted the advancement of diversity within the industry.
Code of Ethics. Sponsors a code of ethics for its members. The code was adopted to promote and maintain high standards of business and personal conduct. Its ten points cover general business integrity and several specific items of financial behavior.
Government Affairs. Represents the industry before elected officials and regulatory bodies. Monitors pertinent legislative and regulatory activity, and keeps members informed of developments in these areas. These activities have helped in securing Americans with Disabilities Act grants to assist coach operators in equipping coaches with wheelchair lifts, and Transportation Security Administration funds in support of industry efforts to improve security measures for drivers and passengers.
The ABA sponsors the ABA Foundation, which funds research, scholarships, and internships related to its mission. It supports BUSPAC, a political action committee that works to advance the interests of the industry and the traveling public.
The ABA maintains strategic partnerships with about 20 other industry organizations and a similar number of state and provincial bus associations.
A travel agency is a private retailer or public service that provides travel and tourism related services to the public on behalf of suppliers such as activities, airlines, car rentals, cruise lines, hotels, railways, travel insurance, and package tours. In addition to dealing with ordinary tourists, most travel agencies have a separate department devoted to making travel arrangements for business travelers; some travel agencies specialize in commercial and business travel only. There are also travel agencies that serve as general sales agents for foreign travel companies, allowing them to have offices in countries other than where their headquarters are located.
A tour operator typically combines tour and travel components to create a package holiday. They advertise and produce brochures to promote their products, holidays and itineraries.
Bookstore tourism is a type of cultural tourism that promotes independent bookstores as a group travel destination. It started as a grassroots effort to support locally owned and operated bookshops, many of which have struggled to compete with large bookstore chains and online retailers.
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is a forum for the travel and tourism industry. It is made up of members from the global business community and works with governments to raise awareness about the travel and tourism industry. It is known for being the only forum to represent the private sector in all parts of the industry worldwide. Its activities include research on the economic and social impact of the industry and its organisation of global and regional summits focused on issues and developments relevant to the industry.
The American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) is an international trade association, located in Fredericksburg, Virginia, United States, whose core purpose is to advance roadway safety. Founded in 1969, ATSSA represents the road, traffic, and highway safety industry with effective legislative advocacy, traffic control safety training, and a far-reaching member partnership.
Cable Television Laboratories, Inc. is a not-for-profit innovation and research and development lab founded in 1988 by American cable operators. System operators from around the world are eligible to be members. Members dues are based on revenue generated from the cable services and businesses they sell to consumers. Incorporated as a non-profit 501(c)(6), CableLabs' board of directors is composed of the chief executive officers of member companies, thus affording business and strategic insight into the technology development process.
A tour bus service is a bus service that takes visitors sightseeing, with routes around tourist attractions.
MTR Western is an American motorcoach operator active in the western United States and Canada.
"The Southeast Tourism Society" (STS), is a non-profit membership organization promoting tourism within the 12 Southeastern member states by sharing resources, fostering cooperation, networking, providing continuing education, cooperative marketing, consumer outreach, advice & consultation, governmental affairs and other programs. Southeast Tourism Society works with and for business-to-business and business-to-consumer companies with an interest in travel & tourism as a business. Membership is open to any organization within the travel & tourism industry – attractions, destinations, associations, lodging and a wide range of service providers from printing to marketing, public relations to travel writers. Membership is focused on networking, the opportunity for education, advocacy and more. STS was established in September 1983, and the 12 member states include Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
The International Inbound Travel Association, formerly known as the Receptive Services Association of America, is a 501(c)6 trade association of major North American–based receptive tour operator companies and suppliers. Based in Lexington, Kentucky, IITA is the only association focused solely on international inbound travel to the United States.
AITO is a British-based travel industry trade group that represents around 120 specialist and independent tour operators. Members operate to over 170 countries, including the UK, with activities spanning a range of interests including adventure, city break, culture, fly drive, luxury, safaris and sports. AITO was established in 1976 and its headquarters are based in Twickenham, south-west London.
NST or the NST Travel Group is a British educational travel company, part of the Holidaybreak group of companies.
The Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises, commonly abbreviated to SETE (ΣΕΤΕ), is a non-governmental, non-profit organization founded in 1991. It is the representative Association for unions of tourism enterprises in Greece, as well as independent companies operating across the broader tourism sector.
Formed to jointly market the entire Dallas/Fort Worth area as a single destination, the Dallas/Fort Worth Area Tourism Council (DFWATC), a not-for-profit organization, banded together all segments of the tourism industry. The council represents area communities, area hotels, major area attractions, museums, restaurants, retail establishments, transportation companies and support services to the industry.
Airports Council International (ACI) is the only global trade representative of the world's airport authorities. Established in 1991, ACI represents airports' interests with governments and international organizations, develops standards, policies and recommended practices for airports, and it provides information and training opportunities to raise the standards around the world. It aims to provide the public a safe, secure, efficient and an environmentally responsible air transport system.
Africa Travel Association (ATA) is a non-profit international travel industry trade association established in 1975.
The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) represents over 5,300 amusement-industry members in more than 100 countries worldwide and operates several global amusement-industry trade shows. Its annual IAAPA Attractions Exposition (IAE) in Orlando, Florida is recognized as the world's largest amusement trade show in the number of attendees and exhibitors and providing members insight into current amusement trends, laws, operations and industry methodology. IAAPA also helps to promote guest- and ride-safety guidelines in conjunction with ASTM International and assists its members to uphold the highest amusement-industry safety and professional standards.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to tourism:
Akwaaba African Travel Market (AFTM) is an international travel, hospitality and tourism event organized in Lagos,Nigeria providing businesses, investors, professionals and buyers in the industry in Africa region to network and trade.