ASTA’s Board of Directors approved changes in ASTA’s governance, including unanimously approved changes to the eligibility status of those agents who can be elected as ASTA President and CEO. In the future, candidates for the office must have had one year's experience as a national director prior to serving in this position, ASTA said. The Board met in New Orleans.
In a follow-up advisory to members, ASTA said the Board unanimously voted that, beginning in 2009, the President and CEO shall be elected at the last regular meeting of the outgoing Board of Directors. They must be among the national directors who will continue in office for the term beginning with the end of THETRADESHOW in the year of the election.
The Board also unanimously voted to allow the merger of the Oregon and Pacific Northwest chapters. They also approved the Great Lakes Chapter as the new name for the merged Michigan and Wisconsin/UPM (Upper Michigan) chapters. The merger was approved earlier at ASTA’s Lyon, France meeting. The mergers of these chapters both streamline operations and reduce operating costs while maintaining services for members in those regions. The Board also discussed other ways in which to strengthen ASTA’s chapter system.
ASTA also said that the Directors reviewed ASTA’s current financial position with respect to targeted goals and governance, with an eye to making the organization more effective in 2009. The Board heard a staff review of ASTA’s membership and meetings goals, as well as individual department updates.
The Board also heard a presentation on the history of the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) and its relationship with travel agents. Also reviewed was a history of ASTA’s new business plan, its current status, and ways in which ASTA can attract more members. Board members also heard an industry update, in which leisure travel trends, the number of agents and locations that exist in the marketplace, and various industry segments were analyzed. ASTA said it also met with New Orleans tourism officials to learn about the recovery and how the retail community could help. ASTA also received an update from ASTA's official charity Tourism Cares.