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America Outdoors Association




"Confluence has got to be the deal of the century as professional development conferences go!  I attend several conferences each year and find that the value of Confluence is by far the best.  First, the educational sessions are top notch and the speakers top of their class.  The motivational speakers are always inspiring and I never fail to find some great material to take back to my staff.  Finally, the camaraderie of seeing friends, new and old, sharing news and sharing ideas is priceless.  I always bring as many members of my staff as I can and find that it is highly beneficial to them as well."  -Peter Grubb,  ROW Adventures.


America Outdoors Association Bulletin

What Is the Future for Adventure Tourism and Travel Marketing? 

Nielsen Finds Social Media Takes Nearly 25% of On-Line Time

Health Care Reform Updates

IRS Taxpayer Advocacy Service Criticizes New 1099 Filing Requirement

What Is the Future for Adventure Tourism and Travel Marketing?  Find Out at the 2010 America Outdoors Association Conference

What are the projections for the travel industry in 2011?   Is there really a “new economy” that is affecting how consumers buy travel and where they go? You’ll learn from two industry experts who specialize in research, demographics and trends for the industry at the 2010 International Marketing and Management Conference. 

Adam Sacks is the founder and Managing Director of Tourism Economics; an Oxford Economics company dedicated to analytically-based consulting to the tourism sector.   Adam also develops custom models for quantifying market opportunities and competitive risks for clients. On a related front, Adam has developed tourism forecasting models with strong track records.  His past speaking engagements include Cultural and Heritage Tourism Summit, Travel Business Roundtable, Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference, ITB Berlin, ARDA, The World Bank, Transportation Research Board Annual Conference, and Travel & Tourism Research Association.  Adam has consulted with multi-national hotel chains, airlines, aircraft manufacturers, theme parks, resort developers, and retail operators to measure current and future market opportunities. He has presented to numerous corporate strategic planning teams on the threats and opportunities facing their businesses within the projected travel and economic climate.

Judy Randall is a “Travel Industry Futurist” and researcher who has spent over 25 years capturing the voice of the customer. She is president and CEO of Randall Travel Marketing, Inc., a company that focuses solely on research for the travel and tourism industry.  She has conducted comprehensive visitor research studies for over 150 small, medium and large destinations.  Judy is one of the top speakers in the travel industry and has spoken at numerous U.S. and international travel conferences.  

Plus, you’ll get new tools to meet the challenges presented by the new economy, including
•    direct sales strategies
•    customer relationship management strategies
•    viral marketing techniques using social media
•    evolving risk management strategies based on the latest case law, the aging customer base, and the changes in how they buy experiences.

You’ll come away from the 2010 Conference with new, custom marketing and sales strategies to grow your market share.

Click here to see the complete lineup and the Agenda.  Click here to Register.  Make hotel reservations at the Radisson today.

Nielsen Finds Social Media Takes Nearly 25% of On-Line Time

According to a Nielsen report issued on August 2nd, “Americans spend nearly a quarter of their time online on social networking sites and blogs, up from 15.8 percent just a year ago (a 43 percent increase). The research revealed that Americans spend a third of their online time (36 percent) communicating and networking across social networks, blogs, personal email and instant messaging.”  On-line gaming overtook email in this year’s results.  Time spent using E-mail dropped from 11.3% to 8.3%.  Video and movie viewing grew by 12% from 2009.  The big question is the “other” category, which is unexplained by the release.

The most important findings, rather than the percentages, is the trends the study reveals.  Social networking and on-line gaming continue to grow.

The top on-line activities in June 2010:   

Social networking 22.7%
On-linegames                        10.2%
E-mail   8.3%
Portals 4.4%
Instant messaging  4.0%
Videos, movies  3.9%
Search   3.5%  
Software 3.3%
Multi-category entertainment2.8%
 Other 34%

Health Care Reform Updates

First, many current health care plans are “grandfathered” in under the law, but you should check with your health insurance company to see if your plan qualifies.  If you make changes to current plans, the new law will apply and you may lose your "grandfathered status".  This could be an issue for HSA’s because the maximum amount that can be put into a Health Savings Account (HSA) pre-tax under the new law is $2,000, down from the $3050 allowed for an individual in 2010.  For families, the maximum contribution for 2010 is $6,150.  

Here’s what will take effect this year under the Health Care Reform law.

Already in effect:
•    Small business under 25 employees eligible for tax credit (retroactive to 1/1/2010)
•    Temporary reinsurance program for employers who provide coverage for early retirees
•    Provides immediate access to high risk pools for uninsured (pre-existing conditions)
•    Seniors will receive a $250 rebate to help fill the Medicare “donut hole”

Taking effect on September 23, 2010:
•    Bans pre-existing conditions exclusions for dependents under age 19
•    Prohibits lifetime / restrictive annual dollar maximums
•    Mandates dependent coverage to age 26 for those not eligible for other group coverage
•    Prohibits rescissions except for fraud
•    Preventive care covered without cost sharing (new plans)
•    Group plans must cover ER services without prior authorizations and in- or out-of-network (new plans)
•    Group plans must allow designation of OB/GYN or pediatrician as PCP (new plans)
•    Employer plans must have HHS approved external appeal process (new plans)
•    Insured group health plans subject to nondiscrimination rules re: highly compensated individuals (new plans)

IRS Taxpayer Advocacy Service Criticizes New 1099 Filing Requirement

During the development of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), aka Health Care Reform, a provision slipped into the bill which requires businesses to file 1099 MISC forms for all purchases for goods and services when they exceed $600 from any corporation or person.  In other words, if you buy a $700 computer, you will have to file a 1099-MISC for that purchase unless you purchase it with a credit card.  Purchases via credit card are exempted.  The new 1099 reporting requirement will be required beginning in 2013 for tax year 2012, so companies will have to started tracking their purchases by cash and check by FEIN or SSN (for sole proprietors) in 2012.

Currently, 1099 MISC forms are only required to be filed for services, winnings, rents and royalty payments, attorney fees, and similar services that exceed $600, plus a few other miscellaneous payments.  Click here for Instructions for 2010 1099 MISC filings to see the current requirements.

Momentum is building to repeal this new reporting requirement.  Two bills have been introduced in Congress.  Recently, the IRS Taxpayer Advocacy Service criticized the provision and said it would be a significant burden to small businesses.  Furthermore, the Service said the reporting would have limited value to the IRS since the agency could not reconcile the payments to a corporation or company due to the fact that some of the income is unreported.

The America Institute of CPA’s recently asked Congress to repeal the provision.  “This expansion of information reporting may prove to be so burdensome to small businesses that we believe it will significantly contribute to the hurdles to growth and formation that businesses face,” wrote AICPA Tax Executive Committee chair Alan Einhorn.

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