History of TTRA as retold by veteran TTRA member Dr. Chuck Goeldner, University of Colorado Boulder.
The Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA) was founded in 1970 as the result of an affiliation of two existing organizations: the Travel Research Association (TRA) and the Western Council for Travel Research (WCTR). TRA was established in 1956, with Norm Johnson of the New York Port Authority as president. TRA was based mainly in New York City and functioned as a travel marketing /research group, meeting at monthly luncheons and usually holding an annual conference.
Membership in TRA was primarily industry people in the east, with most from New York and Washington D. C. Membership totaled about 150. WCTR was composed of directors of university bureaus of economic and business research, state highway directors, state travel offices, and other users and producers of travel research. The tourism industry had just begun to show an interest in this travel research organization, with various sectors asking to be members. WCTR’s membership likewise numbered about 150. Also, the Canadian travel industry had shown a decided interest in WCTR with a number of members, a WCTR president, and Canadian board members.
After deciding to become one organization, selecting a name was difficult. Much discussion took place as the eastern group name, Travel Research Association, seemed to be perfect, but something different was needed. After much discussion, the founders chose The Travel Research Association (TTRA) as the new organization’s name. Two councils functioned under the TTRA name— ECTR for the eastern group and WCTR for the western group. To be a TTRA member, an individual joined one of the councils, which was awkward as people simply wanted to join TTRA. Salt Lake City, Utah, was selected as the headquarters, with Mari Lou Wood as the secretary-treasurer. Housed in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Utah, the newly created organization began a stay that would last 23 years.
After a period of operating as two councils under the TTRA banner, it became clear that the organization needed to become one in name, purpose, activities, publications, membership, and so forth, and truly merge. This happened at the 1971 conference when the two councils transferred all assets into the TTRA common base. The ECTR group elected to continue with its luncheon functions and became the New York Chapter of TTRA. At the same time, the Canadian members began discussing the possibility of forming a Canada chapter, which they did. Many of the active members on the West Coast, in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas, also began discussing becoming chapters. In 1972, the merging of the two organizations was complete, with TTRA operating as one organization. The name was changed to the Travel and Tourism Research Association.
In addition to hundreds of individuals who gave so much time and effort to create TTRA, two universities (the University of Utah and the University of Colorado) played an important part in TTRA’s origin, history, and success.
TTRA strives to represent the diversity of the travel and tourism industry and the global community. TTRA has members from around the world, including:
- United States
- United Kingdom
- New Zealand
TTRA holds an annual conference where researchers, educators, and industry professionals gather to present research findings, exchange ideas, and discuss emerging trends in the travel and tourism industry. The conference has been held in various locations around the world, including:
- 1970 Monterey, California
- 1971 Snowmass at Aspen, Colorado
- 1972 Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
- 1973 Sun Valley, Idaho
- 1974 Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia
- 1975 San Diego, California
- 1976 Boca Raton, Florida
- 1977 Scottsdale, Arizona
- 1978 Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
- 1979 San Antonio, Texas
- 1980 Savannah, Georgia
- 1981 Las Vegas, Nevada
- 1982 Miami, Florida
- 1983 Banff, Alberta, Canada
- 1984 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- 1985 Palm Springs, California
- 1986 Memphis, Tennessee
- 1987 Seattle, Washington
- 1988 Montreal, Quebec, Canada
- 1989 Honolulu, Hawaii
- 1990 New Orleans, Louisiana
- 1991 Long Beach, California
- 1992 Minneapolis, Minnesota
- 1993 Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
- 1994 Bal Harbour, Florida
- 1995 Acapulco, Mexico
- 1996 Las Vegas, Nevada
- 1997 Norfolk, Virginia
- 1998 Fort Worth, Texas
- 1999 Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
- 2000 Burbank, California
- 2001 Fort Meyers, Florida
- 2002 Arlington, Virginia
- 2003 St. Louis, Missouri
- 2004 Montreal, Quebec, Canada
- 2005 New Orleans, Louisiana
- 2006 Dublin, Ireland
- 2007 Las Vegas, Nevada
- 2008 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- 2009 Honolulu, Hawaii
- 2010 San Antonio, Texas
- 2011 London, Ontario, Canada
- 2012 Virginia Beach, Virginia
- 2013 Kansas City, Missouri
- 2014 Brugge, Belgium
- 2015 Portland, Oregon
- 2016 Vail, Colorado
- 2017 Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
- 2018 Miami/Coral Gables, Florida
- 2019 Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
- 2020 Canceled due to COVID-19
- 2021 Online Virtual Event
- 2022 Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
- 2023 St. Louis, Missouri
TTRA has an enviable record of supporting publications with partners and creating publications on its own for more than 50 years. Some notable publications that TTRA has supported over its history include:
- Journal of Travel Research
- Tourism Analysis
- Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research
- Tourism Travel and Research Association Newsletter
The success of TTRA is due to the dedication of its members, who are committed to advancing the field of tourism research. TTRA provides a forum for researchers to share their findings, learn from each other, and collaborate on research projects. The organization also bridges academia and the tourism industry, facilitating knowledge transfer from research to practice.
TTRA is committed to advancing the field of tourism research and continuing to serve as a forum for researchers, educators, and industry professionals. The organization will continue to evolve to meet the changing needs of the travel and tourism industry and the global community.
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TTRA is a highly respected and established organization dedicated to advancing the standards of travel and tourism research and analysis. With its focus on excellence, professionalism, quality, and inclusivity, TTRA is the go-to source for professionals in the industry seeking to stay ahead in their field.