The Travel Leaders Franchise Group will make ASTA membership mandatory for all Travel Leaders franchisees, beginning in 2015.
Mandatory membership will be phased in over the next two years. The group will also modify its franchise agreements as they come up for renewal to include mandatory membership.
The franchise group will maintain its Premium Member status in ASTA.
The Travel Leaders Franchise Advisory Board voted unanimously for the membership requirement.
This is the third time that an agency marketing group has mandated or subsidized ASTA membership this year. In September, the Signature Travel Network mandated membership. In June, the MAST Travel Network agreed to pay a portion of dues for ASTA members.
ASTA represents approximately 8,000 members, although it says that the number is much higher when it includes the number of agents who are represented indirectly as employees of member agencies. Total firms represented are about 3,500, of which 2,000 are travel agencies in the U.S.
"We are grateful for our consortia and franchise partners and their leadership who are stepping up to the plate and recognizing that ASTA is the only national trade association advocating for the continued education and training, and positive growth of this profession," said Zane Kerby, president and CEO of ASTA.
"We believe this is the best way for our industry to speak with one voice -- a stronger voice -- if more organizations in the industry supported ASTA," said Roger Block, president of the Travel Leaders Franchise Group and chairman of the ASTA board. He added that the return on investment in an ASTA membership "far outweighs the cost."
The Travel Leaders Franchise Group has 360 locations and a majority of those members belong to ASTA now.