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Agent Groups Join GATAAMay 3, 2011 By: George Dooley Travel Agent
The newly formed Global Alliance of Travel Agent Associations (GATAA) announced that two more associations have joined the alliance. The first is the Austrian Travel Association (Österreichische Verein für Touristik - ÖVT), which became the first European founding member of GATAA, having approved membership in GATAA during the ÖVT annual meeting in Bad Mitterndorf, Austria, last week. The second new member is the Travel Agents Association of Malawi (TAAM) becoming the first African association and founding member to join the Alliance.
Formed in April, GATAA's mandate is to address issues relating to remuneration, distribution, education and training, and to improve travel supplier relationships. Its primary focus is leveraging travel technology, distribution enhancements, and better selling tools to provide increased benefits to travel agents and travel suppliers alike. GATAA will hold its first organizational meeting in Cairo, Egypt on 19-20 July 2011.
Six travel agent associations and retail travel groups formed the new, worldwide organization of travel agent associations in April, including founding members, the Association of Retail Travel Agents-Canada (ARTA Canada), the Association of Retail Travel Agents-USA (ARTA), ASTRA Travel SAE (Egypt), the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA), the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) and the Yemen Union for Tourism (YUT).
The founders said that the formation of the GATAA was a result of the need for a “streamlined, and more nimble organization [that] was necessary to pursue the many important challenges and opportunities which the worldwide travel agency community faces.” Among these main issues GATAA said, are matters relating to remuneration, distribution, education and training, and improved travel supplier relationships.
Key to differentiating GATAA from other travel agent umbrella associations is GATAA's primary focus on leveraging travel technology, distribution enhancements, and better selling tools which provide increased benefits to travel agents and travel suppliers alike.
GATAA members and affiliates must be retail travel agent organizations which either serve other travel agents or the travelling public. Travel suppliers are welcomed allied partners, but they are not members. GATAA noted that the Federation of ASEAN Travel Agents (FATA) board of directors, at its meeting in Bangkok on March 24, 2011, unanimously supported the creation of GATAA. FATA represents 10 travel agency associations in Southeast Asia. GATAA will actively seek additional travel agency organizations to join its alliance.