|Photo by Martin Barraud/OJO Images/Getty Images|
The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) reports that, at its September 27 meeting during the ASTA Global Convention in Reno - Tahoe, ASTA's Corporate Advisory Council (CAC) set its Executive Committee leadership roster and renewed support for two advocacy initiatives to benefit the travel agency community.
During the meeting Michael Dixon of Travelink, American Express Travel in Nashville, TN, was elected by his peers to a two-year term as Secretary, joining Jennifer Wilson-Buttigieg (Chair) of Valerie Wilson Travel, Inc. in New York, NY, and Denise Jackson (Vice Chair) of Balboa Travel, Inc. in San Diego, CA, on the CAC Executive Committee. Wilson-Buttigieg and Jackson moved up the ladder with the departure of Marc Casto of Casto Travel in San Jose, CA, from the Executive Committee after nearly a decade of service.
On the advocacy front, the CAC voted to renew funding in 2017 for the ASTAPAC Charitable Matching Program, which provides ASTA chapters that reach PAC fundraising goals and high-dollar individual donors with matching funds to the charity of their choice (subject to a cap of $40,000 per year). The goal of the program is twofold: to stimulate PAC fundraising and support ASTA’s advocacy work while allowing its members to give back to their local communities. Between 2010, when the program was put into place, and today overall PAC fundraising has more than tripled while almost $130,000 has been given to worthy charities across the country.
The CAC also funded ASTA’s participation in the lobbying campaign with its travel insurance partners to standardize state regulation of travel insurance. This campaign has been successful in putting the NAIC-NCOIL standard, which shifts the licensing burden for the sale of travel insurance from travel agents to insurance producers, in place in 43 states plus the District of Columbia, ASTA said. ASTA estimates annual agency savings in licensing costs and training time for these states alone at more than $9.3 million.
The CAC is made up of the largest travel agency (corporate and leisure), consortia and allied members of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) with annual travel sales of at least $50 million. The Council works on issues of common interest to the agency community, formulating a strategy to speak with one voice before federal regulators, Members of Congress, state legislators and other travel industry groups, ASTA said. During the September 27 meeting the CAC welcomed the new members who joined the Council in 2016: ABC Global Services, Allianz Global Assistance (Allied Member), Avoya, BCD Travel, Brownell, Fox World Travel and Frosch.