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ASTA Puts Spotlight on KoreaDecember 4, 2006 By: Camie Foster Travel Agent
Travel agents looking to grow the
Rather than convene a World Travel Congress in a different
venue each year, ASTA modified its program philosophy to provide annual
in-destination programs alternating between Asia and
The inaugural expo took place in Europe earlier this year;
the 2007 expo is scheduled for March 25–29 in
"It's an opportunity like no other to really get to know the destination and suppliers," says Kristina Rundquist, ASTA's vice president, communications.
"Many of these are local companies that simply can't afford to exhibit at ITB, TheTradeShow, WTM and the like, so this really is a unique opportunity to make contacts that your competition doesn't have access to."
Joanne Gardner, CTC, an agent planning to attend IDE-Asia, concurs.
"Going to the IDE meetings allows me to meet the local DMCs (destination-management companies) and ground operators that we would never meet here in the States."
During the course of next March's expo, Rundquist says, retailers will be able to sit in on seminars about the destination, its culture, its selling points and who the ideal potential visitor is, she adds.
"Agents who attend will come back with a solid understanding
of how to sell the area, in addition to a first-hand experience in not only
She notes that visitors to Jeju may come across some of the island's hundred or so varieties of oranges and tangerines, and the dolhareubang, or "grandpa stones." Other iconic elements include the "sea women," who carry on a long tradition of harvesting animals and plants from the ocean.
Gardner, president of the Midwest Chapter of ASTA, whose
agency is based in
"I do a good business in China/Hong Kong at the moment
and want to expand my knowledge about the rest of the area,"
Delegates have the ability to earn destination-specialist
status for several countries in Asia and the Pacific during the expo, including
More Help for Agents
Other programs designed to help agents grow their Asia
business include a seminar on selling the emerging destinations of
Additional programs scheduled as of press time include
soft-adventure opportunities in Southeast Asia and an interactive program about
creating a buzz among clients about
Delegates also get to select one half-day and one full-day
tour of Jeju—choices range from learning about
Other choices are visiting a traditional five-day market and
a jaunt that includes time at the
Another outing combines a visit to imposing
If You Attend
Registration is $259 per person for agents who belong to ASTA and $309 for those who don't. Delegates also can draw upon preferred pricing for air with a number of carriers, as well as for lodging with multiple hotels.
The conference section of ASTA's web site provides current details, as well as hotel and air booking forms available in PDF format online. For further information about the expo, contact ASTA's meetings department at [email protected] or visit www.astanet.com/expo.
Delegates also have a number of pre- and post-expo tours
from which they can choose. These include remaining in Jeju, exploring other