ASTA is launching the ASTA Verified Travel Advisor program, Zane Kerby announced at the group's Global Convention in San Diego today.
The program works like this.....
Travel agents can earn the Verified Travel Advisor (VTA) certification by completing and passing the core courses within the program. The majority of courses take between an hour and an hour and a half to complete, and consist of a manual, online video and exam. Agents will receive a certificate of completion after passing each exam, and will be awarded a VTA certificate once they have successfully completed all nine courses within 12 months.
There will be additional guidelines for maintaining the VTA certification. ASTA said that these are still under development and will be published soon.
“Through our consumer research we discovered that Americans are more likely to use an advisor when they believe that advisor will put their clients’ interests first,” ASTA said in a statement announcing the new program. “Earning the VTA certification demonstrates dependability, integrity and trustworthiness in support of the consumer. The program is a tool that will allow ASTA members to further enhance their professional development and credibility with consumers, suppliers and even the government. Becoming an ASTA Verified Travel Advisor also means that ASTA has verified your knowledge of the core legal, ethical and regulatory framework that encompasses the business of selling travel.”
The program is open to any travel agent that meets the membership criteria to join ASTA. Travel agents must maintain their ASTA membership in order to continue being a Verified Travel Advisor. If an agent is not a current ASTA member, the VTA registration fee includes a one-year membership. The program costs are:
- ASTA Member: $399 per person
- Non-Member Independent Travel Advisor: $598 (includes ASTA membership for one year)
- Non-Member Travel Advisor: $729 (includes ASTA agency membership for one year)
The VTA program consists of nine courses developed by ASTA’s staff, as well as other business and industry professionals. They are:
- Advanced Public Speaking
- Ethics for Travel Advisors
- Legal Overview for the Travel Agency Industry
- Marketing YOU! Promoting Your Value
- Project Management and Planning for the Travel Advisor
- Real World Sales Tactics
- The Art and Science of Negotiation
- Agency Relationships and the Law
- U.S. Travel Agency Regulatory Compliance 3rd Edition
Initially, other educational accreditations will not count towards the VTA program, ASTA said. However, the organization said that it envisions elective courses to be added and new core courses developed as part of continuing education.
Travel agents can enroll in the program at ASTA.org/VTA