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ASTA Kicks Off 'Join and Be Counted' Membership DriveMay 14, 2012 By: George Dooley Travel Agent
In coordination with the industry’s leading consortia, franchises and host agencies, ASTA kicked off its Join and Be Counted membership campaign - an industry-wide effort running through May 21. The goal is to expand ASTA's membership base and educate the industry on the critical importance of ASTA’s advocacy work at the federal, state and local levels.
“This campaign is about participation. We want to ensure the industry – both agents and suppliers – understands the unique value ASTA delivers on their behalf and that is in the form of a creating and maintaining a healthy retail travel environment in which to conduct business,” said ASTA CEO Tony Gonchar.
Among the key actions cited by ASTA is its success, working with the U.S. Travel Insurance Association (USTiA), in deregulating the role of agents in the sale of travel insurance in Florida, Kentucky and Minnesota.
The ASTA-USTiA collaboration continues to seek passage of deregulation bills in the remaining 47 states, ASTA notes.
Through the work of ASTA, its local members and allies, ASTA reports that taxes on agent markups were recently defeated in Connecticut, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia, sparing agents in those states from being taxed twice and sometimes even a third time on their fees.
ASTA also said recent work led to the defeat of a regulation that would have required travel agent registration in Washington.
“ASTA is tackling the very real threats that negatively impact travel agents’ bottom lines. When it comes to protecting agents from anti-competitive taxes, double- and triple-taxation and burdensome regulations, ASTA is the face and the voice of travel agents in state capitols across the country, continuously lobbying to protect their interests,” added Gonchar. “ASTA does the representation work so travel agents can focus on what is most important to them–growing their businesses.”
The week-long, multi-media campaign involves a series of targeted pushes by leaders of the industry’s top consortia, franchises and host agencies to their members.
These messages will describe the many benefits of ASTA membership and how ASTA membership complements agents’ current consortia/franchise relationships.
ASTA’s focus is on advocacy and providing vital, industry information and analysis to help agents adapt to change, trade press coverage to educate suppliers about the value of agents, and outreach through social media to keep member agents aware of new trends they must know to thrive in today’s marketplace.
ASTA thanked participating organizations for their ongoing support of the Society and the industry: American Express Representative Travel Network, Ensemble, Leisure Travel Alliance, MAST, Nexion, Signature Travel Network, Travel Leaders Franchise Group, Vacation.com and WESTA.