STA members have voted to remake the
travel industry's largest retail trade association.
By approving a major bylaws change, ASTA's members agreed to open
up the membership and admit qualified individual agents and
independent contractors as full voting members, whether they work
for a member agency or not.
Since its inception, ASTA has represented the owners and
managers of traditional brick-and-mortar travel agencies, so this
is a big step. And while only about a third of ASTA members voted,
they voted overwhelmingly for a radical change. We think that
willingness to embrace change bodes well.
We applaud this outcome. It should be good for ASTA and for its
members, new and old.
f you've never heard of the
Tourism Policy Council, don't fret. It's an entity that isn't often
in the news. In government-speak, it's an interagency policy
coordinating committee. It's purpose is to bring together senior
officials from various federal departments dealing with tax,
transport, immigration, employment, economic development, etc., so
they can coordinate their activities that affect tourism and help
each other avoid policies that can inhibit tourism.
The sad story of the Tourism Policy Council is that we wouldn't
need one if we had a cabinet-level tourism position in the
government. Sadder still is that the Tourism Policy Council has not
met since 1997, and it took the events of Sept. 11 to motivate
Commerce Secretary Don Evans to convene a meeting of a body that
had no business going dormant in the first place.
Still, it's a good thing that the group is coming together
again. Let's hope it stays together.