In conjunction with its fourth annual International Destination Expo (IDE), held this year in Sun City, South Africa, ASTA held its first Board of Directors (BOD) meeting of 2009.
Sun City, South Africa – While in Sun City, the Board heard a presentation on the state of the retail travel agency industry and discussed challenges and trends within the sector and how they will affect not only travel agencies, but the association, going forward. Not surprisingly, the economy dominated the conversation and Board members were updated on the many ways in which ASTA continues to help its members weather the current economic situation as well as future plans for assisting members in preparing for an economic rebound. To that end, the Board requested that ASTA staff develop education materials that will assist travel agents in sales and marketing and reinforcing their value proposition when dealing with customers.
During, its meeting, the Board also unanimously voted to: amend the current bylaws to include misuse of ASTA’s copyrighted material; approve the election calendar for national directors and the chapters; and amend election procedures to reduce the number of people on a chapter nominating committee.
The Board also heard reports from ASTA senior staff on the association’s various initiatives regarding membership growth and renewal and consumer awareness. On the legislative affairs front, the Board heard about ASTA’s initiatives with Secure Flight and collaborative efforts to limit the scope of anti-trust immunity being sought by several airlines. Also up for discussion were ASTA’s plans to continue its efforts to work with the Airlines Reporting Corp., GDSs and the airlines to resolve technical issues surrounding debit memos.
With respect to meetings, the Board was provided an update on this year’s IDE and its success as well as a preview of the upcoming THE TRADESHOW and next year’s International Destination Expo in Istanbul, which includes an offer of free hotel rooms for ASTA and NACTA members.
In a further effort to ensure that members are provided with the best information and education, ASTA will develop two programs: a virtual summit, concentrating on issues that are relevant to its core membership—small-and medium-sized travel agencies; and an online program based that will use the insights from ASTA’s research to assist members in understanding how to grow their business and change from a commission-based business model to a consulting-fee business model.
The mission of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) is to facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism. ASTA seeks a retail travel marketplace that is profitable and growing and a rewarding field in which to work, invest and do business.