Host Travel Agencies to Form Professional Organization

The first professional organization devoted to host travel agencies may be only a few months away, according to one host travel agency familiar with the matter. A group of 12 prominent host travel agencies formed a charter committee in 2005 to explore the issue, and now the group is publicly saying it has ironed out most of the kinks and is ready to formally get started. "We have no idea what it will be called," said Peter Stilphen of Coral Sands Travel. "Names are out there but we haven't voted on what it would be called yet." Coral Sands Travel is one of the 12 host agencies to form the steering committee. The others include Atlas Tours & Travel, Cruise Gal, Design Travel, Dugan's Travels, IC Travel Host, Incentive Connection Travel, Magellan360, Montrose Travel, Ticket to Travel, Travel Planners International Travel, and Uniglobe Travel USA. The new organization will focus on forming standards and codes of ethics, providing membership training, and enhancing communication between product suppliers and home-based agents, according to Stilphen. The suppliers, he added, "don't know who (the home based agents) are. This is one of the things that we will be getting into. Closing that communication gap." Stilphen estimates there are approximately 150 host travel agencies in the U.S.

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