The American Society of Travel Agent (ASTA) is the leading and largest professional association of the travel trade in the travel and tourism industry. It was established in 1931 as the American Steamship and Tourist Agent Association but In 1945 the association changed its name to ‘The American Society of Travel Agent Inc.’
ASTA’s present name was adopted to foster programmers for the advancement of the travel industry, promote the ethical practices and provide a public forum for travel agents. It has more than 25000 active members which include 1800 active and remaining are allied and associate members.
Objectives of ASTA
The main objective of ASTA is the promotion, advancement of the interests of members, safeguarding the traveling of people against frauds, misrepresentation and other unethical practices. The other sub-objectives are:
- To educate and train members.
- To provide a common forum.
- To organise travel seminars, conferences and conventions.
- To provide a means of collaboration.
- To publish material relating to the travel industry.
The ASTA has 58 chapter including 28 in USA and Canada and the remaining 30 chapters are in different countries. These are managed by the elected officers and executive committees. The president and chairman of the board are elected by the members for two years. The day to day activities is administered by an executive vice-president assisted by the professional staff.
Membership of ASTA
The American Society of Travel Agent (ASTA) is a global organization which plays an important role in the travel and tourism sector. ASTA has more than 25000 members which include 18000 active and remaining are allied and associate members. ASTA is organized and managed under New York State Corporation Law and located in Virginia. Anyone related to the travel and tourism sector can apply for the membership of ASTA. ASTA has two categories of membership. These are following as:
- Active Members
- Allied and Associate Members
Travel and Tourism organizations, firm, and companies which are actively involved in the travel business can become its active member. Travel agencies and Tour operators are the active members of the American Society of Travel Agent (ASTA).
Allied and Associate Members
Those organizations, firms, and companies which are not actively involved in travel and tourism business but they support in the backend and plays an important role as the supplier in the travel and tourism industry. Airlines, hotels, railways, and government organizations are the allied and associate members of the American Society of Travel Agent.
Role and Functions of ASTA
A professional travel trade organization – ASTA comprises different segments of the industry is playing a pivotal role in the promotion and development of the world’s fastest growing industry. The following point justifies the above assertions:
- ASTA helps in professional and technical assistance.
- It offers a common forum for the exchange of ideas.
- It conducts worldwide market research.
- It helps the governments to formulate tourism policy and strategies.
- ASTA protects the tourists from unethical travel trade practices.
- ASTA conduct research, studies, and publicity for the sound development of travel agencies.
- ASTA offers various training and management development programmes for senior executives of travel companies.
- ASTA co-operates with all organizations and individuals engaged in tourism activities, designed to enhance the professional standing of the travel industry.