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What:Royal Caribbean International has announced it will be sponsoring $10,000 in American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) membership fees for NACTA members, to launch during the National Association of Career Travel Agents’ (NACTA) annual conference in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Less than a week later, Carnival Cruise Line announced it will be backing $10,000 toward ASTA membership growth.
Why It Matters:In this past year, several travel agent consortia have introduced other ASTA membership initiatives, including discounted fees and monthly payment plans. Royal Caribbean’s move made it the first cruise line to subsidize fees for ASTA membership, and Carnival was quick to follow suit. The jury is still out if more cruise lines or other suppliers will do the same, but the growing support for ASTA — an organization dedicated to championing agents — helps to underline the importance of agents in the travel industry.
Fast Facts:- ASTA membership dues for NACTA members are $199 per year, with a two-year commitment.
- For non-NACTA members, ASTA membership dues are based upon a travel agency’s annual sales volume and start at $325 per year.
What They Are Saying:“Vacations are often our favorite memories, which is what makes the work of travel agents so valuable,” said Vicki Freed, senior vice president of sales, trade support and service for Royal Caribbean. “Royal Caribbean is proud to subsidize NACTA agents’ membership into ASTA so they can enjoy the support and muscle of an incredible organization dedicated to their needs all day, every day. With the pairing of resources from both ASTA and Royal Caribbean, our NACTA travel partners can make sure their clients come home with the best memories possible.”
“We are extremely honored to partner with ASTA and NACTA in growing and maintaining their membership base,” said Mike Julius, vice president of U.S. field sales for Carnival. “The work these two organizations do for our industry is invaluable. Carnival Cruise Line is proud to partner with both of them.”