During the Association of Retail Travel Agents’ (ARTA) quarterly board of directors meeting at the Hyatt Place Hotel in Baltimore, MD, the association offered strong support for the Open AXIS Group's development of direct-connect travel product and services distribution.
ARTA amended its bylaws to recognize and admit as members individual travel agents who have retired from the industry. Many ARTA members who are transitioning into retirement expressed their wishes to remain involved in the industry, and requested that ARTA create the necessary bylaw changes to allow them to continue as members, ARTA said.
The board also voiced its approval and satisfaction regarding ARTA's new website and the new array of online self-service tools available to members and prospective members. ARTA's ID Card program continues to be a great success with members extremely pleased with the new card design, ARTA said.
The board also agreed to accept limited banner advertising in ARTA's popular daily newsletter, read by thousands of agents every day.
The board continued planning for ARTA's 50th anniversary in 2013 by studying various options for a national conference and other activities to mark this important milestone. The board also agreed to reach out to ARTA members to obtain their input as to what type of programs would be desirable and where the celebration should he held.
The board also approved ARTA's decision to join several international agency groups, including ARTA Canada, in the formation of a new, umbrella organization to be called the Global Alliance of Travel Agent Associations (GATAA). The primary focus of GATAA will be on leveraging travel technology, distribution enhancements, and better selling tools that provide increased benefits to travel agents and travel suppliers alike. GATAA will hold its organizational meeting in Cairo, Egypt, from July 19-20, 2011.
The board voiced strong support for the Open AXIS Group's development of direct-connect travel product and services distribution, including the new opportunities for travel agencies emerging under the Distribution 2.0 initiative.
ARTA said it is firmly convinced that more and more travel distribution will be managed through direct connections and that travel agents will have new access to more robust and profitable content as a result.
ARTA is headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ, and is the strategic partner of Canadian-based ARTA Canada.