The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) has announced a significant expansion of its activities in Latin America with a new initiative focused on building its member base in the region and connecting U.S. advisors to business opportunities in one of the hottest outbound markets from the United States.
Starting this quarter, the Latin America expansion will focus on creating alliances and partnerships in Peru and Costa Rica—where travelers from all 50 states are expected to be able to freely travel beginning this November, subject to existing COVID-19 travel protocols.
“In the wake of COVID-19, our entire industry has had to pivot,” said Zane Kerby, president and CEO of ASTA, in a press statement. “At the same time, building trustworthy business partnerships remains integral to our travel advisor members.”
Leading the regional development operation is Roberto Morales, ASTA’s new associate vice president for Latin America. Morales brings with him decades of experience, from working in various government roles, at chambers of tourism, to experience in corporate travel, ecotourism and running ground operations as a tour operator.
“I see this partnership in Latin America as a big opportunity for ASTA,” said Morales. “Tourism is suffering worldwide and, in our region, we’re looking for qualified travel buyers. It was complicated to sell Latin America before COVID-19 and now, moving forward, it’s going to be more complicated than ever. Developing relationships now will help travel advisors meet the demand of interest in these destinations.”
Joining Morales in this effort is Jose Corrales and Javier Rosas, based in Costa Rica and Peru, respectively. Their combined experience in Latin America includes work in travel marketing, travel management companies (TMCs), destination management companies (DMCs) as well as meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions (MICE).
Throughout this partnership, ASTA Latin America will host webinars, FAM trips and other events. The alliance will focus on public and private partnerships to expand awareness of ASTA and its members in the region and provide qualified travel advisors with educational opportunities. While the initial phase of ASTA Latin America will begin with Peru and Costa Rica, the society intends to add Brazil and Mexico to the areas of focus in the near future.