Under a resolution approved by ASTA`s Board of Directors, ASTA members will vote on an amendment to the Society`s Bylaws that…
Under a resolution approved by ASTA`s Board of Directors, ASTA members will vote on an amendment to the Society`s Bylaws that would allow the Board to elect two at-large members to the Board, one of whom would be part of the Executive Committee. These positions will be elected by the Board from among the members of ASTA`s Corporate Advisory Council (CAC).
The measure was passed by a vast majority of the Board -13 for and 4 against, with one abstention. A referendum of qualified voting ASTA members will take place in mid May, after members give input at ASTA`s Regional meetings.
Today, the Board unanimously approved the addition of the CAC as a permanent, standing committee of ASTA. U. Gary Charlwood, chairman and CEO of The UNIGLOBE Group, will continue in his role as chairman of the CAC, and companies already serving on the CAC will continue to do so. Members of the CAC will be elected annually by the Board.
Said ASTA President and CEO Richard M. Copland, CTC, ASTA members have said clearly they expect the Society to adapt in order to continue meeting travel agent needs and functioning as the unified voice of the industry. By uniting the entire travel agency community under the ASTA banner and ending the fragmentation that has long plagued the industry, this proposal will make ASTA exactly the kind of organization members want it to be.
The CAC, comprised of the heads of major travel agency consortia, franchise organizations and independent agencies, works with ASTA on issues of common interest to the retail travel agent community, with particular focus on legislation, government regulation and industry relations.
At no time has it been more necessary for all segments of the retail travel agency sector to speak with one voice on issues relating to the future and some of the tumultuous industry changes that have taken place and are proposed. The CAC will harness its members` efforts behind the broader ASTA membership to make sure the united voice and interests of the entire retail sector are taken into account, said Charlwood.
Copland added, Having at-large directors from the Corporate Advisory Council will make ASTA a stronger voice on the major national issues that we must address within the travel industry and with government, and we will become more representative of the industry as a whole. A huge majority – 85 percent – of ASTA members are part of a consortium or franchise network. Travel agents have learned to trust each other and work together for success; now it is time for us to unite in addressing the issues that matter most in our industry.
ASTA`s volunteer leadership has heard the call for member input and we will have a special member forum at each Regional meeting. That`s why we are taking a single change to the membership that can be considered on its own merits. Bob Kern, president of ASTA`s Southern California Chapter and chapter president representative to the Board, indicated that a vast majority of chapter presidents stand behind this plan. Clearly, there is strong support for the idea, and I believe that will be reflected in the referendum, he concluded.
A variation of the current proposal was contained within the recently defeated governance referendum. ASTA`s leadership believes that the outcome was the result of member opposition to the provisions dealing with Chapters. The current proposal deserves to be considered separately from the complex, multilevel restructuring encompassed in the prior referendum.
The CAC includes representatives of:
- American Express
- Rosenbluth International
- Carlson Travel Franchise Group
- Total Travel Management
- Expedia, Inc.
- TraveLeaders Group
- Navigant International, Inc.
- Uniglobe Travel (International) Inc.
- Northwestern Travel
Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.