NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana - While attending the 2010 USTOA Annual Conference & Marketplace, Travel Agent sat down for a one-on-one with the new president of USTOA, Terry Dale.
Dale will officially take over the role — leaving his post as president of CLIA — at the start of the new year. According to Dale, USTOA has a full plate coming into the new year. Some of the organization's more noteworthy goals will be opening up Cuba to full tourism and simplifying Brazil's visa process, which right now is "a cumbersome and antiquated process," according to Dale.
Dale called Cuba one of those "great unknowns." In reality, he doesn't see the country opening up any time in early 2011.
"Opening Cuba to tourism is important to members and industry associations," Dale said. "I hope it will be quickly resolved in 2011, but in this climate nothing is easy or quick. All we can do is be persistent and continue to work with our partners."
For Dale, his own personal goal while heading up USTOA is first and foremost to get up to speed with the new position. "The first months will be about listening and learning, and in that respect this conference has been huge for me. It will take a few months to see where I will have the most impact," the new president said.
Advocacy is very important to USTOA in 2011. This means determining how best to create a voice for the industry, whether that means engaging a firm in D.C. such as NTA, creating a coalition or working with intelligence gatherers. "We need to ramp up the organization to another level," Dale said.
Finally, Dale hopes to strengthen USTOA's relationship with agents. "Travel agents are our best resource," he said. Using his experience from CLIA, Dale hopes to create partnerships and awareness with agents, but a firm plan has not been established yet. When he officially comes to the position, he will tackle this issue head on.
Stay tuned today, December 13, as Dale's replacement at CLIA will be announced.