Best in Class 2018: ASTA Recognizes Industry SuperstarsPress Releases - News - ASTA

Contact: Jessica Parker

Best in Class 2018: ASTA Recognizes Industry Superstars

Alexandria, VA, August 30, 2018 – The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) recognized the superstars of the travel industry last week at the ASTA Global Convention (AGC) in Washington, D.C. August 21-23. During the convention, attended by more than 1,000 advisors, suppliers and industry professionals, ASTA recognized frontline travel advisors and agency owners who go above and beyond in caring for their customers as well as those suppliers most supportive of the trade, as voted on by ASTA’s over 9,600 individual members.

“As the national trade association for travel advisors and agencies of all business models, ASTA strives to promote excellence within the trade,” said ASTA President & CEO Zane Kerby. “Our annual global convention is the perfect time to recognize these best-in-class professionals and companies in front of their industry peers for their meaningful contributions to the travel industry.”

Travel Advisor of the Year

The top annual award for advisors is the ASTA Travel Advisor of the Year (formerly Extra Mile), sponsored again this year by Enterprise Holdings. The award recognizes the travel advisor who has gone above and beyond in the last 12 months to provide exceptional service for a client in a new and creative way. Congratulations to winner Tracy Whipple of Travel On A Dream LLC in Deforest, WI and runners up Brandi Brister of Valerie Wilson Travel, Inc. in New York, NY and Marisel Aleman of Cruise Elite, Inc. in Ormond Beach, FL!

Entrepreneur of the Year Award

The ASTA Entrepreneur of the Year Award was established by the Dan and Gloria Bohan Foundation to promote entrepreneurship in the travel and hospitality industry. Each year, the Foundation, in conjunction with ASTA, selects one person or organization that best exemplifies this spirit of entrepreneurship to receive the award and a $10,000 cash prize. Congratulations to winner Pat Hager of Senior Travel Buddy in Escondido, CA and runners up Katelyn O’Shaughnessy of idoctours in Los Angeles, CA and Gee Man of Meetings Suite in London, England!

Individual supplier awards given to companies that best support the advisor community, as voted on by the ASTA membership:

  • Supplier Partner of the Year: AmaWaterways
  • Supplier Representative of the Year: Vicki Freed, Royal Caribbean International
  • North American Airline Partner of the Year: United Airlines
  • International Airline Partner of the Year: Turkish Airlines
  • Lodging Partner of the Year: Marriott International
  • All-Inclusive Property Partner of the Year: Playa Resorts Management/Hyatt Ziva & Zilara
  • Contemporary Cruise Line Partner of the Year: Royal Caribbean International
  • Luxury Cruise Line Partner of the Year: Crystal Cruises
  • Premium Cruise Line Partner of the Year: Celebrity Cruises
  • River Cruise Line Partner of the Year: AmaWaterways
  • North America Destination Partner of the Year: Visit Anchorage
  • International Destination Partner of the Year: Israel Ministry of Tourism
  • Tour Operator Partner of the Year: The Mark Travel Corporation
  • Technology & Transaction Partner of the Year: Airlines Reporting Corporation
  • GDS Partner of the Year: Amadeus North America, Inc.
  • Travel Insurance Partner of the Year: Allianz Global Assistance
  • Car Rental Partner of the Year: Enterprise Holdings
  • Transportation Partner of the Year: Carey International

Partnership awards were also given to ASTA members, chapters and partner organizations:

  • ASTA Lifetime Achievement Award (2): John Haskins of Viking Travel Service in Naperville, IL and Gloria Bohan of Omega World Travel in Fairfax, VA
  • Consortia of the Year: American Express Travel & Lifestyle Services
  • Regional Consortia of the Year: MAST Travel Network
  • Host Agency of the Year: Nexion
  • ASTA Chapter of the Year: Arizona Chapter
  • ASTA Chapter on the Rise: Greater Dallas Fort Worth Chapter
  • International Chapter of the Year: Romania Chapter
  • International Chapter Participation: Kenya Chapter

ASTA advocates on behalf of the travel advisor community at all levels of government, within the industry and before the traveling public. The following awards were presented at ASTA’s black-tie Advocacy Dinner during Global Convention:

  • Chapter Advocacy Award: Long Island Chapter
  • Barbara O’Hara Advocacy Award (2): Eric Maryanov of All-Travel in Los Angeles, CA and Chris Seddelmeyer of Seddelmeyer Travel Concepts in Lima, OH
  • Paul Ruden Industry Ambassador Award: Jennifer Wilson-Buttigieg of Valerie Wilson Travel, Inc. in New York, NY

For more information on current and previous award winners, visit or check out these great pictures of all our award winners!

Rebranded in 2018 as the American Society of Travel Advisors, ASTA is the leading global advocate for travel advisors, the travel industry and the traveling public. Its members represent 80 percent of all travel sold in the United States through the travel agency distribution channel. Together with hundreds of internationally-based members, ASTA’s history of industry advocacy traces back to its founding in 1931 when it launched with the mission to facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism. For more information about the Society, visit Consumers can connect with an ASTA travel advisor at


Related Resources:

Over Seventy Percent of Travel Agencies Will Be Out of Business in Six Months or Less Without Additional Federal Relief

The Demonization of Cruising Must Stop

Get a “behind the curtain” look at ASTA’s advocacy efforts

Ensemble Travel Group OasisTravel Network Signature.jpg Virtuoso Amadeus Discover Puerto Rico Marriot Norwegian Alamo_Enterprise_National
American Airlines
Best Western
Royal Caribbean International
AIG Celebrity Logos logo Corp Msc Cruises Travel Insured Visit Anchorage Apple Leisure Group ARC Avis Budjet Carnival logo NTC Logo Sabre Travel network TTC Tramada Travelport Travelsavers
ASTA VTA 45% off June 20th - August 28th

ASTA Headquarters

American Society of Travel Advisors
675 N Washington St, Ste 490
Alexandria, VA 22314 U.S.A.