FRAMINGHAM, MA - The Travel Institute will soon release its most comprehensive certification makeover in the organization’s 53-year history with the new Certified Travel Associate (CTA) Program on January 17. Updated and expanded content, revised curriculum specifications, and an engaging online format are at the core of the enhancements.
“Today’s agency environment and what’s required of a travel professional is so different from what it was a decade ago – even just a couple years ago,” said Diane Petras, CTIE, chief operating officer of The Travel Institute. “So, in keeping true to our mission, The Travel Institute is responding to ‘the changing face of travel’ in all that we do, with the new CTA curriculum as one of our flagship initiatives and commitments to giving back to the industry in 2017 and beyond.”
Among the most visible changes when compared to the original course are the online enhancements and the number of course modules. The CTA Program will feature 15 required courses compared to the original syllabus of eight core courses and four electives. The January 2017 release also features a number of new topics – such as Netiquette – and an overhaul of select material – such as Business Ethics and The Art of Listening and Communicating. Additional revisions were also incorporated throughout to reflect current and best business practices.
“During the development stage, we evaluated each module with ‘fresh eyes’, sitting down as a travel advisor and asking ourselves, ‘How will this help me be the best frontline travel professional I can be?’. After careful thought we decided that each topic was essential to one’s success,” said Director of Training Guida Botelho, CTA. “In addition, we hired subject matter experts to write each course, adding to the relevancy and the effectiveness of the program.”
Before its release, the new course was “test driven” by a team of travel professionals representing diverse experiences, training, and years in the industry. Said Evan McElligott, CTA, of Longer Vacations, "I love the course as much now as I did when I first completed it. The updates are so relevant in today’s fast-paced world. Every time I review it, something new pops out at me. The work put in by The Travel Institute to keep this course so fresh and relevant is wildly impressive."
The new CTA Program is divided into two categories:
- Professional Skills Modules – Business Ethics, Business Writing Skills, Customer-Focused Selling, Customer Service, The Art of Listening and Communicating, Teamwork, Time Management, and Understanding Customer Needs;
- Practical Skills Modules – How to Prevent Credit Card Fraud, Planning Itineraries, Selling All-Inclusive Resorts, Selling Escorted Vacations, Selling Special Interest Travel, Touring the World, and Travel Insurance.
To enhance the learning and practicality of the concepts, engaging “Application Activities” and “Did You Know” exercises were added throughout the course. Pre- and Post-quizzes are also included in each module to help learners determine their level of knowledge of the respective topic. To achieve CTA certification, students must pass the proctor-administered exam (50 multiple choice, 5 short essay questions) with a grade of 70 or higher. Participants have 12 months to complete their studies and take the final exam. A virtual study workshop will be offered at an additional cost.
“The selected content and way it’s written and presented reinforces learning, helps in long-term retention, and more importantly provides the fundamentals and catalyst to change your behavior,” added Botelho.