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ASTA holds Board meeting at International Destination Expo

ASTA held its first Board of Directors meeting of 2011 last week (April 13-14) as part of the Society’s International Destination Expo in San Juan, P.R. In addition to making critical decisions that shape the Society’s future, the Board heard from ASTA CEO Tony Gonchar and staff on the strategic development plans being put in place for 2011 and beyond.

Among the key decisions made, the Board, after review of new revenue opportunities and steps taken in early 2011 to more closely manage expenses, unanimously voted to approve a revised calendar year 2011 consolidated operating budget as recommended by the Budget and Finance Committee.

Further, by unanimous decision, in an effort to inspire greater participation in ASTA chapter management, the Board approved changing ASTA’s bylaws to provide full voting rights to a single Premium Manager (PRM) of a domestic Premium Member company, who would be selected by the Premium Representative. Accordingly, the PRM will be considered a “member” of ASTA for all purposes and can participate fully in chapter activities including offering to share the burden of leadership. In a related action, the Board amended the ASTA bylaws to provide the International Premium Member representative (PRR) of a Premium Member company with full voting rights, as well. ASTA’s strategic planning includes a major effort to increase international membership. International member interest in Premium level membership has increased significantly – this action is complementary to that growth.

It was also decided by unanimous vote that the bylaws be amended to allow any Chapter Presidents Council-selected Board Member with a full year of Board service and who is elected to an at-large Board seat to be immediately eligible for election as President of ASTA. This action treats board service as a CPC-elected member on the same plane as board service by election to an At-Large seat.

The Board also unanimously approved a one-time exemption to the ASTA bylaws to permit the current International Chapter Presidents Chair to be eligible for election to a fifth term of office for the electoral period 2011-2012. This action will assist ASTA in transitioning to its new management and new strategic approach in the period immediately ahead.

The Board also heard reports from staff and provided their feedback on a variety of initiatives, including collaboration opportunities between ASTA and NACTA; consumer awareness campaign opportunities; suggestions for re-engaging and increasing member satisfaction while attracting new members; the development of a “Meet Your Legislators” campaign; and differentiation strategies to allow ASTA members to clearly set themselves apart from non-ASTA agencies.

ASTA thanks the Conrad Hotel, the VARITA Restaurant and Wilo Benet for hosting the ASTA Board.

The mission of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) is to facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism. ASTA seeks a retail travel marketplace that is profitable and growing and a rewarding field in which to work, invest and do business.

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