Congratulations to ASTA members for settling one of the most divisive questions to confront the Society in recent years -- a proposal to add some of the industry's "heavy hitters" to the board of directors.

By a substantial margin, voting members agreed to add two directors to the board, drawn from ASTA's Corporate Advisory Council. The council is a collection of over a dozen agency groups such as Giants,, Hickory, Uniglobe, Radius and Virtuoso, plus several large agencies such as American Express, Rosenbluth and, yes, Expedia and Travelocity.

As its traditional membership base has been undermined in recent years, ASTA has reached out to include independent travel sellers by its acquisition of the National Association of Commissioned Travel Agents, and it has changed its bylaws to allow individual travel counselors to be full voting members.

With the latest move, ASTA promised its members that it will have more clout with suppliers and the government if the board were to include voting representatives of the larger entities in the industry, as well.

The challenge now is for ASTA's leadership to make good on that promise of increased clout, greater visibility and greater effectiveness in advancing the interests of professional travel sellers. Now, more than ever, ASTA's structure gives it the inclusiveness and breadth of representation that should enable it to fulfill that promise. We wish the new ASTA every success in that effort.

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For more details on this article, see ASTA referendum passes by wide margin. 

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News of tomorrow 

Because the news usually is about "what happened," we usually report the news in the past tense. But this practice can obscure the fact that much of our news is not about yesterday, but about tomorrow.

In this issue, for example, you will read that France and Britain want to get Americans feeling good about traveling again, even if their currencies aren't cooperating against the dollar. The Africa Travel Association wants to get the word out that Africa is a good place to visit.

The owners of the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island are convinced that they have a good place to visit, and they're investing $600 million to make it better. The Venetian in Las Vegas is spending $275 million on an expansion that will give it a room count of 4,049 rooms and suites, third-highest in the world. The Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Florida spent $100 million to upgrade its facilities and grounds.

Without investing quite so much, an adventure tour operator is expanding its product line to include Central and South America. A helicopter operator is offering a new line of aerial tours of Oahu.

These are the acts of travel promoters and travel suppliers that are looking to the future, preparing for the future, investing in the future.

How's that for good news?

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Look for additional details on this article in the June 2 issue of Travel Weekly. 

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