Underscoring agent concerns with card mills, network marketing and affiliate organizations, a group of veteran travel agents have formed the Travel Professionals’ Network (TPN), to build credibility and recognition for professional travel agents.
Founding organizers include Tom Ogg, Nancy Norris and Jim Terracciano. In a statement, the three agents said they wanted to restore credibility for themselves and their peers and that TPN would offer three levels of recognition.
“TPN’s purpose is to provide a designation to those who through a proven combination of proven gross sales, education, experience and tenure have earned the right to be called a professional travel agent,” TPN said in a statement. TPN will be incorporated and managed by a Board of Directors.
“This is an agent initiative to overcome the plethora of card mills, network marketers and affiliate organizations presenting themselves as professional travel agents to the trade and the traveling public. The project is simple in scope. TPN's objective is to allow professional travel agents the opportunity to set themselves apart from those that do not qualify.”
Applicants must pass a test, provide proof of gross sales at $50,000 per year, $150,000 or $300,000 levels and provide documentation verifying the certifications and experience they claim to satisfy the minimum requirement at each designation level. They will also sign an agreement and Code of Ethics and pay a nominal one time processing fee.
TPN said it recognizes that there are many ways for agents to gain knowledge and earn credentials and that it will credit training and certification earned through The Travel Institute, Cruise Lines International Association, Airlines Reporting Corporation as well as providing credit to applicants for industry experience. This includes supplier designations (specialist programs), industry conventions and trade shows, personal travel experiences, ship/hotel inspections and other criteria.
“TPN is not an organization or association, it is an agent driven initiative to help separate the true agent from those who have bought their way into the industry,” said Tom Ogg, a 40-year travel industry veteran.
Nancy Norris, a home based agent for the past seven years with a 32-year career in education, has developed a test that each applicant must pass while Jim Terracciano, a 12-year veteran of travel and the current co-owner of a home-based agency, will act as the TPN Executive Director. Visit www.travelprofessionalsnetwork.com