THETRADESHOW’s seminars focused on a variety of topics this year.// (C) 2009 Kenneth Shapiro
Sponsors, including The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), called THETRADESHOW, held earlier this month in Las Vegas, a success. ASTA officials claimed that about 2,500 people were expected to participate overall. That number is down by about 500 from last year, but is still encouraging given recent economic challenges.
At THETRADESHOW, Chris Russo, recently elected for a second term as ASTA president, urged travel agents to become more political when it comes to agent issues.
“It’s our responsibility to take ASTA tools and translate them into action,” Russo said. “Only you and I can bring passion to the table.”
In addition to seminars on a variety of issues, networking events, a trade show and private appointments, ASTA used the conference to acknowledge some standouts in the travel industry. This year, Mary Louise Seifert, owner of Welcome Aboard Vacation Center in Scottsdale, Ariz., was named ASTA’s 2009 Travel Agent of the Year; Gary Charlwood, founder and CEO of Uniglobe Travel International, was named to the ASTA Hall of Fame; Cynthia Perry, vice president of sales and industry relations for Travel Insured International, was named ASTA’s 2009 Allied Member of the Year; and Jason Beukema, president of WhetTravel in Miami, won the Young Professional Award.
Next on ASTA members’ calendars will be the 2010 International Destination Expo (IDE) to be held April 19-22 in Istanbul, Turkey.