ASTA Plans Industry Panel for Puerto Rico IDE

ASTA has announced a special opportunity for Puerto Rico travel agents attending the International Destination Expo in San Juan, P.R. (April 14-17). A panel discussion, taking place on Saturday April 16 from 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. and featuring ASTA’s CEO Tony Gonchar and other ASTA executives, will touch upon critical industry issues facing travel agents today. This year’s IDE offers four days of concentrated education including the opportunity to earn new certifications that can be added to agent's professional profile.

“This is a unique opportunity for travel agents in Puerto Rico to hear first-hand about some of the most critical issues that we as travel professionals must contend with,” said Chris Russo, ASTA president and chair. “Agents will walk away from this session with new knowledge they can use to further their businesses and marketing practices.”

The panel will be moderated by Frances Ryan, business journalist/reporter, for the Caribbean Business Journal, and will feature in addition to Gonchar, ASTA President and Chair Chris Russo, Senior Vice President of Industry and Legal Affairs Paul Ruden, and Puerto Rico Chapter President Daphne Barbieto.

Among the topics covered will be:
• Critical issues facing the industry and what they mean for smaller travel agencies;
• How agents can enhance their business skills through the use of technology;
• Actions ASTA has taken to help smaller travel agencies;
• The issue of the "travel hassle factor" and prospects for improvement;
• Best practices for developing new business;
• How to stay in tune with the industry’s largest trends; and
• The benefits of ASTA membership.

April 16 also marks a special day for local ASTA travel agents in that for only $129 ($179 if an agent chooses to attend the gala dinner by 2012 host Peru), they will be able to gain access to exclusive networking events with U.S. agents, admission to a trade show floor offering unique business opportunities and the chance to interact with travel suppliers during one-of-a-kind product seminars. Non-ASTA members can access the same opportunities for a discounted rate of $154.

Puerto Rico agents interested in attending the full conference will be able to take advantage of four full days of education and networking for $299 ($349 non-member rate). Regardless of which package they choose, by attending, travel agents from Puerto Rico will have the chance to:
• network with a large community of U.S.-based agents and expand their business contacts;
• expand their services by partnering with travel professionals selling to their home market.
• attend an international event catering to global travel interests, niche markets and unique opportunities.
• learn how to best sell Puerto Rico as a gateway destination, benefiting from its advantage as the most accessible Caribbean Island to better sell multi-destination packages.
• join with fellow professionals to discuss the changing industry, emerging markets and shifting alliances; and
• receive the best on-site discounts for ASTA events, including the 2012 International Destination Expo in Lima, Peru, and the #1 North American travel show, ASTA’s Travel Retailing & Destination Expo.
Puerto Rico travel agents may register for the promotion and learn more about the event and complimentary sightseeing, by going to


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