ASTA to fund consumer-awareness campaign


MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica -- The ASTA board, at its quarterly meeting here, allocated "significant" funds to support a broad-based nationwide consumer-awareness campaign.

Society president Richard Copland declined to reveal the size of the allocation, saying many campaign details need to be hammered out.

He said ASTA's 32 chapter presidents will be called on to develop proposals for a grassroots effort that would involve affordable ad placements in local markets, public relations projects and other elements meant to "get the public talking about the value of using an agent."

The campaign could involve other supplier-sponsored ads, like the Carnival-sponsored series of 2001-2002 in USA Today, and Copland will try to enlist participation from other agency groups.

Meanwhile, he said, ASTA's Corporate Advisory Council of mega-agencies and franchisers has made equal access for agents and the public to all air fares, regardless of distribution medium, a top priority. He said, "We will stop this [fares available only at select Web sites], though it may take some time."

As previously announced, the board approved Copland's plan to run for a second term as president. He also needs approval from 10% of the voting members of each chapter. He predicted he will get the approvals, "no question about it."

In other action, the board announced two new benefits:

• Creation of the ASTA Job Board, at Travel professionals can post applications from around the world and will be alerted when there is an opening that fits their criteria.

Employers that post jobs will be provided with data on candidates fitting most of their criteria. After a three-month introductory period, nonmembers will be charged $189 to post a job for 30 days or $920 for the option to search the job applicant database for a year.

ASTA member firms will have a 35% discount on both options.

• Availability of discount-prescription cards to all those who join ASTA or are official representatives of agency members.

The card, offered by ScripSolutions through a relationship with Berkely Agency, will provide discounts of up to 50% on generic drugs and up to 15% off brand-name drugs.


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