Aruba launches agent training program with ICTA credits

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ORANJESTAD, Aruba -- The Aruba Tourism Authority (ATA) officially launched its agent training program at its annual tourism conference, which was held in San Nicholas, Aruba, last month.

Although a fam tour is not included in the ACE program, ATA suggests that agents take advantage of ACE-only fam trips or other fams offered to the island. Above, the Royal Plaza mall in downtown Oranjestad. The program, initially introduced at Gogo's Learning Conference in Aruba last fall, is designed to educate agents about Aruba as well as foster relationships between agents and the tourism authority, an official said.

Agents who complete the Aruba Certified Expert (ACE) program will earn Institute of Certified Travel Agents credits. The exact number of credits to be earned is under review.

The program costs $35 for a four-hour seminar conducted by the authority in major U.S. markets.

Agents who complete the program get a $20 rebate on their first booking.

ATA said it hopes to develop a home-study version of the program.

Retailers who become Aruba specialists will be included in a referral program and will have access to an ACE agents-only Web site.

They also will receive reference materials based on their specific needs and markets.

Names of ACE agents will be distributed with Aruba travel information and will be listed on ATA's Web site, www.aruba.com.

The ACE agents-only Web site is scheduled to be up and running later this year at www.aceagent.com.

For additional information on the specialist program, call (800) TO-ARUBA.

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