United States Tour Operators Association
Oceanwide Expeditions is a member of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), a professional trade association created to promote integrity within the tour operator industry. Founded in 1972 and headquartered in New York, USTOA is a national organization that protects both the traveling public and the interests of tour operators.
USTOA: Integrity in tourism
USTOA’s motto, “integrity in tourism,” is reflected in its goal to foster trust in tour operators. The association requires members to adhere to the highest standards in the tourism industry, beginning with ethical conduct. Members are required to, among other things, represent all facts, conditions, and requirements relating to tours and vacation packages truthfully and accurately.
Members must also advertise and quote prices that are deliverable; accurately identify facilities, accommodations, and services; and communicate substitutions promptly. USTOA members must demonstrate ethical and financial responsibility in their business conduct in order to instill confidence in their financial stability, reliability, and integrity.
Principal USTOA goals as stated on their website:
- Educate the travel industry, government agencies, and the public about tours, vacation packages, and tour operators
- Protect consumers and travel advisors from financial loss in the event of a USTOA member bankruptcy, insolvency, or cessation of business
- Foster a high level of professionalism within the tour operator industry
- Promote and develop travel on a worldwide basis
More about USTOA
USTOA active members are among the top names in the tourism industry, accounting for a substantial portion of the North American market. The association was the first of its kind to establish a consumer protection fund, forming a member bonding requirement to protect consumer deposits in the event of bankruptcy or business cessation.
The plan has strengthened in response to changing economic times: the USTOA $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program, which requires member companies to set aside one million dollars of their own funds to protect consumers deposits, is recognized as the strongest in the industry.
Through public relations and consumer awareness campaigns, USTOA educates the traveling public about the benefits of packaged vacations. The association also helps destinations and travel entities build tourism through organizing workshops, product development trips, and meetings.
USTOA’s highly active government affairs committee has also championed a policy of open borders, working successfully with the Department of Transportation (DOT), U.S. State Department, and other government entities to facilitate tourism worldwide.