Travel agent organizations met in Vienna last week to complete the structure and first board meeting of the Global Alliance of Travel Agent Associations (GATAA), a new group. The members were hosted by Austrian Airlines.
In a statement the associations said "a new, streamlined, and more nimble organization was necessary to pursue the many important challenges and opportunities which the worldwide travel agency community faces."
"Among these main issues are matters relating to remuneration, distribution, education and training, and improved travel supplier relationships," GATAA said.
The nine founding members of GATAA include the Association of Retail Travel Agents-Canada (ARTA Canada), the Association of Retail Travel Agents-USA (ARTA), ASTRA Travel SAE (Egypt), the Austrian Travel Association (Österreichische Verein für Touristik - ÖVT), the North Cyprus Turkish Tourism and Travel Agents Association (KITSAB), the Travel Agents Association of Malawi (TAAM), the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA), the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), and the Yemen Union for Tourism (YUT).
The two-day meeting saw GATAA complete its organizational structure, bylaws, fees and set its first board of directors.
Key among GATAA's its initial objectives was the approval of an extensive, 25-page plan to modernize the air travel market and carve out unnecessary and non-essential costs in the agent/airline relationship.
GATAA also said it will create an Advocacy Assistance Panel to help those members progress cases which agents seek before the IATA/Travel Agency Commissioner. The next meeting is in October 2012 in North Cyprus.