I write this from Montreal, scene of ASTA’s 75th and final World
Congress. Last night, for the General Opening Session remarks,
Kathy Sudeikis, ASTA president, spoke to the assembled crowd about
the organization’s past and future, from a pulpit at the gothic
Notre Dame Basilica in the city’s Old Town. The setting was perhaps
appropriate for an organization at a crossroads.
On a cold and rainy night, Sudeikis told the crowd of over 2,000
ASTA members and industry leaders that, while ASTA was saying
goodbye to an era in the organization’s history, it was also
welcoming in the future.
“Too often in the past, out of a sense of fairness, we have let
the lowest common denominator set the agenda,” Sudeikis said.
“Let’s change that focus and look to the best and brightest those
agents who are ahead of the herd and not running with it.”
The importance of Sudeikis’ words as well as the setting was not
lost on agents.
“I heard Kathy speaking, and I looked at the surroundings, and I
thought to myself, ‘Lord, I hope you’re listening. We can use some
help,’” said Edward Tang of consolidator C&H International in
“It was a very moving setting for the final congress,” said
Lagring Gonzalez, owner of City Tours and Travel in Los
ASTA has bold and innovative plans for the future including
developing the pre-eminent trade show in North America and these
plans are designed around a business strategy meant to keep the
organization relevant, if not stronger than ever, for years to
come. After the opening session, however as the rain came down in
Old Montreal and industry leaders literally scurried for cover one
couldn’t help but wonder if history will view this evening on
sacred ground as more a baptism of the new ASTA or as a eulogy for
an age gone by. K.S.