WASHINGTON -- One year ago at the ASTA Global Convention (AGC) in San Diego, the Society rolled out its Verified Travel Advisor (VTA) program. As of Monday night, ASTA reached its goal number of graduates for the first year, 80, president and CEO Zane Kerby said at this year's AGC at the Washington Hilton here.
The program has nine modules covering topics like public speaking, ethics, marketing and sales.
"These are the building blocks of an adviser's professional training," Kerby said.
The graduates in attendance at the conference were given diplomas on stage Tuesday, including the most recent: Rick Ardis, general manager of Ardis Travel in East Rutherford, N.J. Ardis helped ASTA squeak by its deadline by completing his VTA certification at 11:41 p.m. Monday night, Kerby said.
More than 200 advisers are currently registered for the VTA certification, and ASTA has introduced additional continuing education courses about professional fees, media training and accounting.
Also on Tuesday, outgoing ASTA chair Jay Ellenby, president of Safe Harbors Business Travel in Bel Air, Md., introduced the Society's new chairman: David Hershberger, president of Prestige Travel/Travel Leaders in Cincinnati, previously the executive committee's vice chair and secretary.
Ellenby, who has known Hershberger for 20 years, called him a "tremendous guy" who is honest and has a high level of integrity.
"You're in great hands," Ellenby told ASTA members.
Ellenby thanked ASTA staff, members and volunteers for their dedication over the past two years and urged members to get involved with the Society.
"ASTA needs you," he said. "We can't stop here. We're on a role. We've got momentum. Your trade association has come a long way and has a long way to go. Get involved."