ASTA repots it is welcoming more than a thousand new travel professionals to its member base, thanks to Tony Gonchar, vice president, American Express Travel. Gonchar, a former ASTA CEO, drove membership registration of more than 1,000 U.S.-based consumer travel counselors and managers from American Express to ASTA, the association reports.
American Express became a charter member of ASTA’s Premium Membership in 2007 and is a member of ASTA's Corporate Advisory Council (CAC).
“I have seen, first hand, how hard the ASTA team works, and how effectively they move the needle in driving results that positively impact our industry,” said Gonchar. “We wanted to deepen American Express Travel's long standing relationship with ASTA and we realized more of our travel counselors needed to be made aware they could join as part of our premium membership status."
"Together, ASTA and American Express Travel have pledged to secure a vibrant global marketplace that is rewarding for travel agents, travel suppliers and the traveling public. This is an exciting time for the world of travel and we are grateful for Tony’s, and American Express’, support,” said Zane Kerby, ASTA President and CEO.
“Post great recession, consumer preferences are shifting beyond material consumption in search of personal fulfillment through experience and learning, which travel is in a unique position to provide,” Kerby continued. “More than the deal of the moment, consumers want value. Travel professionals deliver that in spades.”
“At American Express Travel, we are certainly seeing the consumer movement toward a quest for enriching experiences. Life experiences — especially travel — have become the priority. Our travel counselors give consumers ‘something they can’t Google,’ and ASTA provides travel professionals information and resources they need to enrich the customer experience,” said Gonchar.
" We need a strong ASTA for the future,” said Gonchar. “The challenge as an industry is to work together to bring in new professional travel advisors who can tap into that growing market.”