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What:Jay Ellenby, incoming chairman of the board of directors for the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), has announced the addition of a per-transaction fee that would fund general consumer outreach and awareness initiatives for the society.
Why It Matters:The new fee, which could range from 5 cents to $1 per transaction, will be charged to all ASTA members, who can choose to absorb the fee themselves or factor it into the cost that a client will pay. Although promoting consumer awareness is critical for the organization to continue to grow and thrive, it’s too early to say whether its 8,965 member agents — who already pay monthly dues — will agree that this is the best way to affect change. As of press time, no set fee or implementation date has been announced.
Fast Facts:- The announcement was made during ASTA’s Global Convention at Peppermill Resort Hotel in Reno, Nev., on Sept. 28.
- Gaining consumer awareness has been a main priority for ASTA in the past few years. Other consumer-facing initiatives include the launch of the video series “Travel Agents Taking Off.”
What They Are Saying:“For all the transactions agents do, a certain fund would go to (consumer awareness) in a passenger facility charge of some kind,” Ellenby said. “Quite honestly, we’re tired of hearing, ‘You guys are still around?’ It’s like nails in a chalkboard. Consumer awareness is critical. We think it’s a viable solution.”