ASTA Approves New Business Plan and Officials

*Travel Industry Supports La.’s ‘Rebirth’
*Malaysia Air Offers Deal
*PATA to Meet in Canada

ASTA Approves New Business Plan and Officials
The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) recently announced the election results for a new business plan as well as the results for national officers and some chapter officers. ASTA members approved the new business plan that was on the Bylaws Referendum held Sept. 7-21.

Of the 23 percent of those who voted by electronic ballot, 82 percent voted for the new business plan.

The new plan offers two membership categories. Core members receive an array of online services, including peer assistance, an E-Library with responses to frequently asked questions, a list of suppliers that don’t honor agent commitments and an industry business number.

For a higher fee, agencies that choose to become premium members receive customized research, extensive networking opportunities, more involvement in federal and state government relations and can opt to work with an account management team.

Implementation of the plan will begin in 2006, and new member categories will be officially launched in January 2007.

Up next for ASTA, a task force will meet this fall to create a governance plan to be reviewed by

the board of directors and chapter presidents’ council. Following review, the governance plan will go to the membership in a referendum if needed. ASTA also an-nounced the results of its election for national officers, as well as some area and chapter officers.

Elected to the board of directors in uncontested races were: Thomas L. Keefe (Area 1), Jack D. Tillem (Area 3), Penelope “Penny” Hawkins (Area 7), Scott Pinheiro (Area 9) and Stephen F. Fiore (Area 11).

Elected as chapter presidents in uncontested races are as follows: Irene C. Ross, CTC, New England; Barbara Jathas, New York City chapter; Joseph W. Bouknight, Carolinas; Jay Ellenby, Central Atlantic; Arlene H. Blosch, Delaware Valley; Vicki Abel, Allegheny; Carol Wagner, Michigan; Dan Lanser, CTC, MidAmerica; Paula Quon, CTC, Northern California; Russell C. Arpaia, Connecticut; Colleen Gillette, Hudson Valley; Lois Howes, Long Island, N.Y.; Patrick R. Byrne, Upstate New York; Wendy Goodenow, CTC, Hawaii; Barbara Boatman, Orange County, Calif.; and Antoine Georges, San Diego, Calif.

Travel Industry Supports La.’s ‘Rebirth’
Louisiana officials recently unveiled a preliminary plan to help rebuild the state’s devastated travel industry and return more than 120,000 tourism workers to their jobs. The plan would marshal support from government sources, industry groups and companies to help fund the effort.

Titled Rebirth Louisiana, the plan’s details remain sketchy. Nevertheless it was quickly endorsed by Travel Industry Association president Roger Dow and other leaders of national tourism organizations.

State officials said the plan not only lays a foundation for restoring the tourist areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina, but also anticipates tourism improvements in New Orleans to make the area the “pre-eminent” destination in the region for national and international travel.

Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu said the state would seek federal funds as well as contributions from the travel and tourism industry. The state will also request lobbying help from Washington-based travel and tourism associations and the Louisiana Congressional delegation.

Landrieu’s office which oversees the state’s cultural, recreation and tourism efforts said it will coordinate a massive public relations campaign, small business loans to affected areas and other recovery efforts.

Louisiana officials noted that outside financial re-

sources will be critical to the rebuilding effort because no tourism revenues currently exist, leaving no tax revenues to refill the coffers of Louis-

iana convention and tourism organizations.

Landrieu said the cultural reputation of New Orleans and the region will be a key driver in attracting economic help from the rest of the country. While he said the state welcomes help from all directions, he made it clear that Louisianans would lead the rebuilding effort.

Louisiana officials said they will create housing for those working in the tourism reconstruction effort in state parks, using both temporary buildings, mobile homes and existing cabins to provide living quarters which will help free up hotel rooms for tourists.


Malaysia Air Offers Deal
Malaysia Airlines is offering fares to Kuala Lumpur for as low as $699 roundtrip. Tickets must be purchased online by Nov. 15, and travel must originate from the Los Angeles or the New York/Newark airports

No minimum stay is required; the maximum stay is 30 days. Passengers aren’t eligible for Enrich/Frequent flyer miles; tickets are non-refundable and changes are not permitted.

PATA to Meet in Canada
PATA Americas Division chapter will hold their annual meeting in Alberta, Canada, at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Oct. 29-31. Seminars will include Marketing the Olympics (Vancouver/Whistler 2010), Asia Pacific Geography 101 and Niche Market Selling of Wine Tours.

Attendees have the option to arrive by train by taking the Via Rail excursion on Oct. 28. Some attendees will be continuing across Canada for the ASTA World Congress, Nov. 6-10, in Montreal, Quebec.

The registration fee is $145 for PATA and PATA chapter members. Non-members and ASTA members will pay a $195 registration fee with a $50 rebate going toward PATA membership if they sign up during the meeting.

Marriott’s Room With a View
Marriott has given new meaning to a room with a view. In an effort to reinvent its brand image, the hotel chain recently unveiled the mSpot live in New York City, which kicked off a four-day celebration.

Set in Times Square, the mSpot is a two-story glass enclosed and stainless-steel structure that debuts Marriott’s redesigned guestrooms. The second-level performance stage serves as the locale for a flurry of concerts, celebrity appearances and even a Wisconsin couple’s wedding.

Faithful Travel
Americans seeking an intimate religious experience that explores faiths most notable places or origins can book a pilgrimage through Globus.

In response to the overwhelming interest in its religious packages offered in 2005, Globus has now more than doubled its pilgrimage vacations for next year to include 20 tours in 20 countries.

On Dec. 6, in Denver, Globus will also host the first-ever National Religious Travel Symposium, bringing together the country’s top speakers and experts on religious travel.

Package highlights for 2006 include Turkey & the Seven Churches of Revelation; Egypt: Early Civilization & Christianity; European Reformation; Italy & Jewish Heritage; and Shrines of French Canada.