|Los Angeles will host the 2012 ASTA Travel Retailing and Destination Expo. // (c) 2011 LA Inc./Robert Landau|
The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) will hold its 2012 Travel Retailing and Destination Expo in Los Angeles from Sept 7-9, 2012, as part of its overhaul of ASTA’s meetings and conventions schedule, according to ASTA CEO Tony Gonchar.
Gonchar said the choice of Los Angeles would help ASTA breakout of the “Bermuda Triangle” of meetings in Las Vegas, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale and expose agents and the industry to a fresh perspective on vital destinations.
Noting that there are 11 meetings scheduled for Las Vegas this year, Gonchar said the industry has reached a saturation point while other vital destinations were being ignored. ASTA has been alternating its Expo between Las Vegas and Orlando.
Gonchar, now completing his first six-months as ASTA’s CEO, also said that ASTA was actively seeking partnerships with other associations and industry groups to co-host or cooperate on events that could attract more agents and suppliers and deliver strong, relevant content.
“There are too many meetings seeking too few agents,” Gonchar said, with agents often conflicted over what meeting to attend. By moving the Expo around to different destinations agents will be exposed to new destination selling opportunities.
ASTA will also seek better coordination in scheduling industry events, building an industry wide calendar to avoid conflicts. Gonchar cited the conflict between CLIA’s cruse3sixty conference and ASTA’s International Destination Expo earlier this year.
In addition to the Travel Retailing and Destination Expo, ASTA will continue its successful International Destination Expo (IDE) that is held at an international destination each year. The 2012 IDE is slated for Peru from March 1-4, 2012.
Gonchar said that ASTA would coordinate the dates and program of its Travel Retailing Expo with the National Association of Career Travel Agents (NACTA), ASTA’s independent agent subsidiary.
ASTA has also retained respected educator Bruce Tepper of Joslyn Tepper & Associates to assist in developing a content rich Retailing Expo program.
Gonchar said that ASTA will continue meetings of key ASTA groups such as its Premium membership – who pay $2,500 to belong to ASTA - and ASTA’s highly regarded Corporate Advisory Council (CAC) that includes leaders of about 40 top agency consortia. ASTA will also continue its Allied Marketing meeting and special events during the Expo including a Bloggers meeting.
ASTA will also continue to sponsor high quality webinars during the year, Gonchar said, noting that ASTA planned 30 webinars this year with more “Pay to Play” webinars planned.
ASTA’s 2011 Retailing Expo (THETRADESHOW) will be held September 11-13 in Las Vegas.