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ASTA Board Plans for Future GrowthApril 19, 2011 By: George Dooley Travel Agent
The American Society of Travel Agents’ (ASTA) board of directors approved changing ASTA’s bylaws to provide full voting rights to a single Premium Manager (PRM) of a domestic Premium Member company, who would be selected by the Premium Representative. Accordingly, the PRM will be considered a “member” of ASTA for all purposes and can participate fully in chapter activities including offering to share the burden of leadership. The decision will inspire greater participation in ASTA chapter management, ASTA said.
The move was taken during ASTA’s board meeting, which was held on April 13-14 as part of the society’s International Destination Expo in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In addition to making decisions that will shape ASTA’s future, the board also heard from ASTA CEO Tony Gonchar and staff on the strategic development plans being put in place for 2011. Gonchar was recently named CEO of ASTA.
In a related action, the board amended the ASTA bylaws to provide the International Premium Member representative (PRR) of a Premium Member company with full voting rights, as well. ASTA’s strategic planning includes a major effort to increase international membership. International member interest in Premium level membership has increased significantly, ASTA said, and this action is complements that growth.
It was also decided by unanimous vote that the bylaws be amended to allow any Chapter Presidents Council (CPC)-selected Board Member with a full year of board service and who is elected to an at-large board seat to be immediately eligible for election as president of ASTA. The action treats board service as a CPC-elected member on the same plane as board service by election to an At-Large seat, ASTA said.
ASTA also reported that the board, after review of new revenue opportunities and steps taken in early 2011 to more closely manage expenses, unanimously voted to approve a revised calendar year 2011 consolidated operating budget as recommended by the Budget and Finance Committee.
The board also unanimously approved a one-time exemption to the ASTA bylaws to permit the current International Chapter Presidents Chair to be eligible for election to a fifth term of office for the electoral period 2011-2012. This action will assist ASTA in transitioning to its new management and new strategic approach in the period immediately ahead, the Society said.
Other initiatives discussed during the meeting included collaboration opportunities between ASTA and National Association of Career Travel Agents (NACTA), a unit of ASTA; consumer awareness campaign opportunities; suggestions for reengaging and increasing member satisfaction while attracting new members; the development of a “Meet Your Legislators” campaign; and differentiation strategies to allow ASTA members to clearly set themselves apart from non-ASTA agencies.