After sluggish event attendance numbers in 2009, the Portland, OR-based Western Association of Travel Agencies (WESTA) is reporting an 8 percent increase in attendance at its first quarter 2010 trade shows.
Mike Estill, WESTA general manager, is optimistic about the future of the travel industry and “feels the resurgent interest in agency staff training indicates a refreshed and positive outlook in 2010.” Estill also reports a 5 percent gain in membership of the agency group.
The four WESTA shows, held in held in various locations on the West Coast, were the kick-off events to one of the locally targeted educational programs. “The second and third quarters of this year will see three series of even more geographically-disbursed educational events, attempting to bring programs 'close to home' for the WESTA member agencies,” Estill said.
The upcoming schedule consists of over 20 dinner meetings featuring individual supplier product training sessions for WESTA members held in diverse locations throughout the West.
WESTA focuses its educational programs on assisting its member agencies in the ongoing effort to be progressive and profitable in the ever-changing travel industry. Interaction between agent and travel supplier is key, and over 10,000 individual agent/supplier training interactions were generated during the first quarter events.
A successful membership drive was held in conjunction with the first quarter trade shows, allowing selected prospective agencies to experience a WESTA event and resulting in a 5 percent increase in WESTA membership. New member agencies represent California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Nevada.