Hilton is getting behind ASTA's new Verified Travel Advisor (VTA) program, granting $10,000 so each chapter president can earn certification.

VTA, introduced a month ago during the ASTA Global Convention, is an advanced, nine-course program.

Paula Christy, Hilton's vice president of distribution channel management and travel industry relations, said, "We know travel agents share Hilton's passion and dedication to the guest experience, and that's why we're investing in a program that certifies travel advisers by ASTA's standards of excellence."

ASTA CEO Zane Kerby said his organization is "sincerely grateful that Hilton supports the ASTA standard of excellence."

ASTA has said its program is different from others because of unique components like a module dedicated to ethics and another to DOT regulations. To maintain certification, agents must continue to be ASTA members.

The cost of the new certification program is $399 per applicant.

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