ASTA Goes Green

ASTA and Travelport announced that together they are launching the new ASTA Green Member Program.


051208_newsASTA and Travelport, a broad-based business services provider to companies operating in the global travel industry, announced that together they are launching the new ASTA Green Member Program. The program will teach travel professionals about the importance of environmentally friendly travel, how to make positive changes in their own companies, select green vendors and suppliers and better sell this form of travel to their clients.

“ASTA and its members are going to educate consumers on the ways travel can benefit the environment and tourist destinations across the world,” said Cheryl Hudak, CTC, ASTA president and CEO. “This program will also help ASTA members evaluate and benchmark their progress against that of their industry peers.”

The new program comes at a time when more Americans are becoming interested in sustainable tourism. In a survey conducted by the Travel Industry Association and Y Partnership, “more than half of all U.S. adults say they would be more likely to select an airline, rental car or hotel that uses more environmentally friendly products and processes.”

While travel professionals want to go green, many are in need of specific educational tools and information to help them do so. ASTA’s Green Member Program will address numerous ways in which agents and suppliers can alter their business models and internal practices and sell tours, transportation, cruises and accommodations that will leave a more beneficial “footprint” on vacation destinations and the environment as a whole.

Agents and suppliers who want to become Green Members must first join ASTA. Members then assess their company’s green agenda against criteria established in the Green Program to ensure compliance with the program’s standards. Once a Green Member, agents and suppliers will have access to ASTA’s green logo to use as a promotional tool.

Tropicana Files for Chapter 11

Tropicana Entertainment LLC, owner of the Tropicana Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week. The filing follows a missed interest payment to Credit Suisse on a $1.32 billion loan. According to a Securities and Exchange Commission document, Tropicana received a notice of default on May 1.

According to The New York Times, the company has been beset by financial difficulties since its $2 billion takeover by Columbia Sussex in 2006, the end of a drawn-out bidding war that saw the casino operator’s value skyrocket.

Tropicana Entertainment owns a total of 13 casinos in five states and employs about 11,000 people. According to published reports, the company plans to operate all casinos at current staff levels.

Viewers Can Choose on American Airlines

American Airlines is giving the people what they want — at least, when it comes to what they watch in the air. Beginning this month, customers and flight attendants can pick and choose their favorite flicks online.

“American Airlines strives to offer movies and in-flight content that appeals to a wide variety of passengers,” explained John Tiliacos, managing director. “We value the opinions of our customers and flight attendants, and our new entertainment Web site is a great tool that will allow us to determine which movies appeal to the majority of our diverse customer base.”

Every month, the top four most-voted films will be shown on the main screen during domestic flights, and two of those four will play on the main screen during international flights the following month. Voting begins on or around the 10th of each month and is open for seven consecutive days. Selections are made at least two months in advance.

Conquest's New Policy

Canada-based Conquest is out to meet agents’ needs. Under its new price-match policy, agents can automatically match any other tour operator’s ITC package price or ITC airfare up to a maximum of $200, including taxes. Price matches more than $200 will still be considered, but must have approval via e-mail.

“Conquest has a new focus and a mission to move forward and be the best tour operator in Canada,” said Brent Carnegie, vice president of sales.

The company recently underwent a change of ownership last fall and Carnegie promises more agent-friendly policies in the near future.