Sports Travel and Tours Founder Receives Award from National Tour Assoc.
HATFIELD — The National Tour Assoc. (NTA) recently presented Jay Smith, founder of Sports Travel and Tours, with the 2019 Bob Everidge Lifetime Achievement Award for dedication to the organization’s mission for more than 20 years.
At NTA’s annual conference, called Travel Exchange, on Dec. 12 in Fort Worth, Texas, Smith accepted the honor from NTA President Pam Inman. Smith has served as a volunteer, member of the organization, member of the NTA board of directors, and board vice chair and chair.
“Jay’s first NTA convention was in 2000 in Salt Lake City,” Inman said. “He has been active, engaging, and leading ever since. He is a positive powerhouse of support. I’m proud to call him my friend.”
Smith was first elected to the NTA board in 2012. He was vice chair in 2016 and chair in 2017. “He continues to be actively involved today as a sponsor and volunteer and as a member,” Inman said, adding that Smith sits on the NTA nominating committee and the owner’s network.
NTA is the leading business-building association for professionals serving customers traveling to, from, and within North America. In accepting his award, Smith said the professionals he has met as part of the network have helped him grow and develop as a business person in the industry. “This is as humbling a moment as I could ever have in my lifetime,” he said.
Smith founded Sports Travel and Tours in 1996, offering tours to baseball games initially and then expanding to include other sports trips in a wider range of venues, including Cuba, London, and Japan.
Support from his staff and his wife, Carol, allowed him to dedicate time to the NTA and its goals. Fellow NTA members helped support the board in achieving those goals. “This is a group award,” he told the crowd of NTA members. “If it wasn’t for all of you on this team, we wouldn’t have been hitting any home runs. We would have been striking out.”
Smith is active in Tourism Cares and Travel Alliance Partners, two industry-focused organizations, and Sports Travel and Tours has been the official travel company of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum since 2007.