American Bus Association
The American Bus Association, or 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.
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.
To the public at large, the ABA is best known for its Top 100 Events in North America, an annual compendium of the best events for group travel in the United States and Canada. Each year, 100 U.S. and Canadian events are selected for the program. One event from each country is singled out for top honors. The program was begun in 1982, and today, the Top 100 Events get worldwide attention via television, radio and print media. The prime source for information about these events is Top 100 Events in North America magazine, distributed to ABA members and thousands of travelers worldwide.
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:
American Bus 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. Sponsors this organization, whose mission is to develop and promote motorcoach safety. The 200-member council meets regularly to discuss issues and innovations in areas of safety, regulatory compliance, mechanics, technology and security.
Publications. Publishes Destinations magazine, an important glossy magazine in the tour and travel industry, and The Insider, a biweekly newsletter for members and others. Compiles and distributes The ABA Motorcoach Marketer, an annual member directory and travel guide.
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.
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