The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) recognized its top suppliers and partners this week at the 2023 ASTA Global Convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico, May 2-4 and at their annual Advocacy Dinner.
During the convention, attended by almost 1,000 travel advisors, suppliers and industry professionals, the society recognized frontline travel advisors and agency owners who go above and beyond in caring for their customers as well as those suppliers most supportive of the trade and its broader advocacy efforts, as voted on by ASTA members. "The overarching message of this convention has been that our organization and our wider industry are in an incredible position of strength—that is a credit to our staff, board, members and supplier partners,” said ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby, who is celebrating 10 years at ASTA’s helm.
The annual Advocacy Dinner is ASTA’s black-tie gala where the Society celebrates the year’s advocacy wins and honors its top supporters. The following awards were presented at the celebration:
- ASTA Lifetime Achievement Award: Frank Del Rio, Norwegian Cruise Lines
- Paul Ruden Industry Ambassador Award: Roger Block, Travel Leaders Network
- Barbara O’Hara Advocacy Award: Rick Ardis, Ardis Travel
- John Haskins Chapter Advocacy Award: ASTA Mid-Michigan Chapter
ASTA’s Advocacy Dinner raised over $325,000 for ASTA’s advocacy and political efforts.
Also at its Global Convention, ASTA handed out its supplier and partnership awards, which are voted on by the membership and go to the supplier partners, members and chapters that best support ASTA’s overall mission: "To facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism."
Each year, ASTA members vote on which supplier company and representative best embody the spirit of partnership. They vote from a substantial list of suppliers from every sector to be awarded Partner Company of the Year and Partner Representative of the Year. ASTA also allows members to write in the supplier representative who exhibits both leadership and excellence, who is awarded the Supplier Medal of Excellence. Kristin Karst and AmaWaterways swept all three categories in 2023.
The ASTA Chapter that exudes special qualities of conscientiousness, community building and overall excellence is awarded the Robert L. Duglin Chapter Excellence Award. This award honors the late Bob Duglin, who served as vice president, international membership and host agencies and the managing director of ASTA’s Small Business Network until his passing in 2021. His dedicated service as a volunteer leader and staff member continues to be an example for so many in the travel community. This year’s winner was the New York City Small Business Network Chapter.
The ASTA chapter president who not only leads their own chapter to excellence and accomplishments but also best exemplifies the spirit of cooperation and helps fellow chapters launch, grow and thrive to best fulfill their mission of connecting ASTA members is awarded the newly renamed George “Eddie” Woodham Chapter President of the Year Award. Kyle Bohman, Central Florida Chapter, is the winner this year.
The Entrepreneur of the Year competition took center stage at the ASTA Global Convention. This year, the audience voted for the winner after each of the three finalists presented their case. In the end, the winner of the $10,000 grand prize from the Dan & Gloria Bohan Foundation was Scott Kubly of Cabana.
Other winners were as follows:
- Airline Partner of the Year: Delta Air Lines
- Transportation Partner of the Year: Enterprise Holdings
- GDS Partner of the Year: Sabre
- Hotel Partner of the Year: Marriott International
- Ocean Cruise Line Partner of the Year: Royal Carribean International
- River Cruise Line Partner of the Year: AmaWaterways
- Tour Operator Partner of the Year: Globus
- Travel Insurance Partner of the Year: Allianz Partners
- North American Destination Partner of the Year: The Hawaiian Islands
- International Destination Partner of the Year: Visit Hungary
- ASTA Travel Advisor of the Year: Edouard Jean, Massive Travels Inc & Terika L. Haynes, Dynamite Travel LLC
- ASTA Consortium Partner of the Year: Signature Travel Network & Virtuoso
- ASTA Regional Consortium of the Year: MAST Travel Network
- ASTA Host Agency of the Year: Gifted Travel Network & Uniglobe Travel Center
- ASTA Member Service Award: Mary Peters, Friendly Travel Inc
- ASTA Chapter on the Rise: Missouri/Kansas Chapter, Central Pennsylvania Chapter
- Regional Director of the Year: Lynda Philippi, Northwest Region
- Young Professionals Society (YPS) Award: Brandi McBride, Connoisseur Travel