SAN DIEGO -- ASTA is launching an advanced agent certification program called Verified Travel Advisor (VTA).

The program was announced during the ASTA Global Convention at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina.

The VTA program consists of nine required courses that each take about one to one and one-half hours to complete. Each course consists of a manual, online video and exam. Agents have 12 months to complete the courses.

The courses are: Advanced Public Speaking, Ethics for Travel Advisors, Legal Overview for the Travel Agency Industry, Marketing YOU! Promoting Your Value, Project Management and Planning for the Travel Advisor, Real World Sales Tactics, The Art and Science of Negotiation, Agency Relationships and the Law, and U.S. Travel Agency Regulatory Compliance 3rd Edition.

ASTA said guidelines for maintaining the certification after it has been attained are in development.

The program is $399 per person for ASTA members.

The course was crafted by ASTA personnel as well as educators Nolan Burris of Visionistics Enterprises and Future Proof Travel Solutions; Peter Kerr, founder and president of KerrComm Communications; and Jeff Miller, principal of Miller Law and a faculty member of Florida Atlantic University.

ASTA said its program stands out from others because it "offers unique proprietary content in areas where ASTA's expertise is unmatched, including ethics, law, and regulatory compliance, among others. ... While there may be other education programs in the market, our program uniquely compliments our strategic partners' educational offerings."

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