ARTA Re-elects Chairman, Opposes ARC Fee Hike

The Association of Retail Travel Agents (ARTA), re-elected Barry Richcreek of Richcreek Vacation Center in Harrisburg, PA, to another term as chairman during the association's Board of Directors meeting in Savannah, GA. The meeting focused on developing ARTA's strategic plan for 2008-09 and marked ARTA's 45th anniversary.

John Faulds, Travel Destinations, Scottsdale, AZ, was elected vice chairman and treasurer; Carol Young, Experience Travel, Hixon, TN, was elected secretary; and Sally Watkins, Century Travel, Austin, TX, was elected member-at-large of ARTA's Executive Committee.

ARTA's board also requested that its legal counsel draft a "comments brief" to support ASTA's case and concerns about ARC's proposed fee increases. ARTA believes the increases are "completely unsupported and unjustified fee increases" affecting ARC-accredited travel agency locations. The association said its brief will make it clear to the independent arbitration panel that the case against ARC's increases is universally shared by all agency groups.

ARTA, which has two representatives who attend the ARC Joint Advisory Board-Agent Reporting Agreement (JAB-ARA), said it has "repeatedly and vociferously decried ARC's lack of any substance or evidence which could justify such huge fee increases on agencies."

In other action, the ARTA board agreed to monitor "very carefully" Lufthansa's plan to charge radically higher fares via GDS in Europe or exact onerous fees from agencies that wish to book Lufthansa's lowest fares through their GDS. Opponents say Lufthansa's plan could destroy the GDS as the preferred agency booking tool, thereby forcing agencies to book only on an airline's website.

For more information about ARTA, contact Pat Funk, executive director, at 800-969-6069 or by e-mail to [email protected] (GD)

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