Hilton has become the first sponsor of the American Society of Travel Agents’ (ASTA) new Verified Travel Advisor (VTA) program.
Hilton will invest $10,000 in the VTA program, which launched last month at the ASTA Global Convention. VTA is a comprehensive certification program designed to help travel advisors achieve an exclusive level of trust and integrity, gain a competitive advantage and build a better business, ASTA said. Now with the support of Hilton, each ASTA Chapter President will now be able to earn their VTA certification free of charge.
Becoming an ASTA Verified Travel Advisor means that ASTA has verified an advisor’s knowledge of the core legal, ethical and regulatory framework that encompasses the business of selling travel. Only ASTA members subscribe to a 12-point Code of Ethics, the core of which is the concept of “Integrity in Travel.” Put simply, this is the pledge ASTA members stake their reputations on. The nine-course VTA program provides a higher level of verifiable professional business knowledge to the advanced seller of travel and proves proficiency. The advisor will receive a certificate of completion after passing each course exam, and will be awarded a VTA certificate once they have successfully completed all nine courses within 12 months of enrollment. Advisors earning the VTA designation will also need to satisfy a continuing education requirement to maintain their certification.
“The VTA certification lets consumers know that their travel advisor has met ASTA’s criteria for industry knowledge, professionalism and ethics,” said ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby in a written release. “We’ve seen a shift from – ‘Do travel agents exist?’ to ‘How do I find the best travel agent?’ And the answer is, trust the leading travel industry association – the American Society of Travel Agents.”