Questex Travel Group today announced the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) would take the stage together for the first time in recent memory to kick off the general session of its Travel Industry Exchange event September 15-17 at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Florida.
Leaders of ASTA and CLIA will join the CEO of Avenue Two Travel to share their vision for the future of the travel agent community, the importance of professional development and the unique needs of Millennial agents and travelers.
Ruthanne Terrero, Questex Travel Group vice president of content and editorial director, will moderate the panel, Raise the Bar Now: Step Up Your Business for the Next Wave of Travelers, which will feature Zane Kerby, president & CEO, ASTA; Thomas Ostebo, president & CEO of CLIA; and Joshua Bush, CEO of Avenue Two Travel.
As the top executive of ASTA, the national trade association solely responsible for promoting and defending the travel agent profession, Kerby is the organization’s chief steward and primary spokesman. ASTA’s members are responsible for 80 percent of all travel sold in the U.S. through agencies. He joined ASTA in February 2013 after a 14-year career with the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).
Ostebo leads CLIA in its mission as the unified global cruise industry organization that helps its members succeed by advocating, educating and promoting for the common interests of the cruise community. His focus includes maximizing the full potential of the 15 CLIA offices around the world. Ostebo is also committed to enhancing relationships and creating greater engagement and value with all CLIA partners, including cruise lines, travel agency, individual travel agent and executive partners.
Ostebo formerly was a rear admiral with the U.S. Coast Guard, which he served as director of strategic management, supporting strategy and budget policy. Among his many assignments, Ostebo also served was commander of the Coast Guard’s 17th District, where he led operations in Alaska, the Arctic and North Pacific. In his other senior assignments, he served as chief of engineering & logistics and executive assistant to the commandant.
Bush’s Avenue Two Travel, a high-end luxury leisure travel agency, specializes in customized experiences. Bush, who grew up in his family’s travel business, also brings almost a decade of experience in consumer finance and commercial real estate. He has served on Virtuoso’s On-Site Committee, Tour Committee and Technology Committee, which he chaired. He also has served on and consulted for numerous advisory boards and panels, including Luxury Travel Advisor Magazine, Fairmont Hotels, Park Hyatt, Viceroy, Classic Vacations and Ritz-Carlton Hotels.
Travel Industry Exchange emphasizes niche travel and specialization, with more than 60 sessions focused on revenue-generating niche segments, including certification programs in luxury travel, cruise ship travel and weddings and romance as well as concentrated programs in technology, trends, destinations and Millennial travel.
“We are honored to bring together, for the first time, such a distinguished group of thought leaders to kick off Travel Industry Exchange,” said Marilyn McHugh, Questex Travel Group’s vice president of global events. “Our experts will share their insights about the future of travel and discuss how attendees can leverage new market dynamics and strategies to take their business to the next level.”
Travel Industry Exchange will bring travel professionals and lifestyle specialists together with international suppliers, including destinations, hoteliers, cruise lines, tour operators, transportation providers, technology companies, spas and resorts. The event will include over eight hours of one-to-one meetings, comprehensive education including agent specialty training and networking events and receptions.
The one-to-one appointments and networking events are designed to help attendees build on their specializations and grow their businesses. For more information or to register, travel professionals may visit www.travelindustryexchange.com.