Tourism Cares has developed an online training and certification program for agents, the Good Travels Advisor (GTA) program, which will launch later this month.

According to Tourism Cares, the program is aimed at “helping travelers give and volunteer better, creating powerful experiences and connections while improving the impact of their contributions,” and “helping travel agents deepen existing clients and to find new ones.”

The course is available for a $22 contribution to Tourism Cares. It will take agents about 60 to 90 minutes to complete, and focuses on topics like picking good volunteer travel experiences, applying knowledge learned to build business, and how to help a destination hit by a natural disaster.

Graduates will have access to handouts and newsletters from Tourism Cares, and will receive GTA certification.

The course will launch on Sept. 26 at the ASTA Global Convention in Reno, Nev. It is already receiving support from the industry. According to Tourism Cares, it has been endorsed by ASTA, the National Association of Career Travel Agents and the International Airlines Travel Agent Network, as well as several agent networks (Signature Travel Network, Travel Leaders Group, Ensemble Travel, Nexion, Hickory Global Partners, and MAST Travel Network) and media (Travel Weekly, TravAlliance, Travel Market Report and Questex). Signature has pre-ordered a batch of courses for its agents.

The course is sponsored by Marriott International and AIG Travel, with chapter sponsorship from Abercrombie & Kent, Amadeus, Collette, Cox & Kings, Micato Safaris, Monograms by Globus, Royal Caribbean, Rovia, TreadRight Foundation, Avanti Destinations and TripAssure.

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