ASTA STANDS FOR TRAVEL

ABOUT US

ASTA, the world's leading association of travel professionals, is the leading global advocate for travel advisors, the travel industry and the traveling public. Our work encompasses every aspect of the travel experience.

During the pandemic, travel advisors emerged as true heroes, working unendingly to rescue clients stranded by sudden shutdowns and helping travelers adjust to the new travel realities.

Behind the scenes, ASTA has been the travel advisors' hero, advocating on behalf of advisors and their clients with suppliers and the government. ASTA also lobbied tirelessly to ensure travel agencies were included in government programs designed to keep the travel industry afloat and to make independent contractors eligible for pandemic unemployment insurance benefits. Equally important, ASTA webinars helped members navigate the red tape and survive.

Our stated mission is to facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism for the travel agency industry. A measure of our success in carrying out that mission is the fact that the ASTA logo is recognized around the world as a symbol of professionalism and integrity. 

A QUICK TOUR OF

OUR HISTORY

Since our founding in 1931 as the American Steamship & Tourist Agents Association, ASTA’s mission has been to promote professionalism and advocate for its members. As modes of transportation evolved, so did ASTA, widening our focus and renaming ourselves the American Society of Travel Agents in 1944. Then, reflecting the shift from booking agent to trusted advisor, in 2018, ASTA became the American Society of Travel Advisors. Here's a decade-by-decade look at some highlights from our storied past.

  • 1930's

    ASTA was formed in 1931 as The American Steamship & Tourist Agents Association. At a time when agents were booking about 85 percent of all steamship travel, ASTA was urging ship lines to adopt agent-friendly policies and working to persuade hotels and railroads to pay agent commissions.

  • 1940's

    When World War II curtailed all but essential travel, ASTA members fought for the survival of their association, and in 1946, when airlines cut agent commissions, we were there to fight for its members. Reflecting shifts in the industry, we changed our name to the American Society of Travel Agents.

  • 1950's

    In the 1950s, ASTA won a 27-year battle for rail commissions. Plus, as part of fulfilling our mission to encourage and enhance professionalism in the industry, ASTA introduced the travel agency industry's first basic training tool, a home-study course. 

  • 1960's

    In the 1960s, ASTA made impressive progress in education. We held our first School at Sea and opened seven travel schools. In 1968, when President Johnson announced plans to restrict travel outside of the United States, ASTA waged the largest grassroots campaign in our three-decade history.

  • 1970s

    The 1970s brought airline deregulation, leading to increased airline competition and the first rise in air commissions in 25 years. ASTA established ASTA Marketing Services, Inc. (AMSI), negotiating member discounts on quality products and services and the ASTA Political Action Committee (ASTAPAC) to help support our advocacy efforts. 

  • 1980s

    In the ‘80s, we continued our emphasis on education, holding Trainingfest, School on Rails, School at Sea and School on the Road. The decade was a period of significant growth for travel agents and the industry.  

  • 1990s

    In 1995, seven airlines capped agency commissions on domestic tickets. We responded by filing an anti-trust lawsuit and settled out of court for $86 million. Plus, advocating for agents and consumers, ASTA drafted and promoted an Air Travelers Bill of Rights which led to the Consumer Access to Travel Information Act.

  • 2000s

    In 2007, we re-launched our brand with a new logo and membership structure and enhanced benefits, including a redesigned website, member tools for advocacy, advertising and public relations campaigns, increased opportunities for global networking and improved online and home-study courses.

  • 2010s

    ASTA advocacy efforts scored major victories at the federal and state levels, saving the travel agency community more than $300 million. Among other initiatives, ASTA led the fight to prevent airlines from passing along merchant fees to travel agents and ultimately, their clients. 

  • ASTA
    2020s

    ASTA continues to actively track and tackle regulatory and legislative threats that could negatively impact travel advisors. Our educational and advocacy efforts have helped members survive the challenges of the pandemic while our public relations campaigns promote the value of travel advisors to the traveling public.

LEARN ABOUT ASTA'S

LEADERSHIP AND GOVERNANCE

Recognizing that the traveling public depends on ASTA travel advisors and other ASTA providers to guide them honestly and competently in their travel decisions, all ASTA members pledge to conduct their business activities in a manner that promotes the ideal of integrity in travel and, as an express condition of membership in the association, to act in accord with ASTA’s Code of Ethics

ASTA policies are established by an elected National Board of DirectorsThe Board then elects the ASTA Executive Committee, including a president/chairman, vice president/secretary and treasurer, from among its members. ASTA’s CEO, as an ex-officio, is a non-voting member.

VISIT OUR

PRESS CENTER

Members of the media are invited to visit our press center. There you'll find our press kit, FAQs and fast facts about ASTA and the travel agency business. On deadline? Email pr@asta.org, use the word "urgent" in your subject line and include your deadline and as much info as possible about your request. To get you started, below is a sampling of our recent press releases.  

  • TRAVEL ADVISORS CELEBRATE END OF INBOUND TESTING RULE

    ASTA advocated on many fronts for the CDC to repeal the inbound COVID testing rule, which had been standing in the way of the industry's recovery.

    Read more
  • TAX ON AGENCY SERVICES STRIPPED FROM KENTUCKY TAX REFORM BILL

    ASTA advocacy efforts defeated a Kentucky proposal to expand the state's sales taxes to travel agency services, saving the average agency $25,000 per year.

    Read more
Celebrate our

INDUSTRY AWARDS

As part of our mission to promote excellence within the trade, every year, ASTA presents prestigious awards to recognize professionals who make lasting contributions to the travel industry and exhibit extraordinary support for the trade. Awards fall into four main categories:  

Supplier Awards, voted on by the ASTA membership, celebrate companies and individuals who go above and beyond to recognize and showcase the value of the agency community.

Membership Awards showcase the superstar commitment of top ASTA member chapters, chapter leaders and travel agency consortia and franchise organizations that work to keep the travel industry strong and show the greatest support for ASTA. 

Advocacy Awards recognize those who have exhibited a huge commitment to ASTA’s advocacy efforts on behalf of the travel agency community at all levels of government, within the industry, and before the traveling public.  

Other Awards include the Journalist of the Year Award, which goes to the member of the media who best recognizes and explains the benefits travel advisors and ASTA provide to the traveling public and the industry.

2022 Award Winners
American Society of Travel Advisors

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