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Top Marks: American Society of Travel Advisors Congratulates Award Winners at the Travel Advisor Conference

The best and brightest in the travel industry were recognized for their outstanding excellence and significant contributions to the industry. 


Dallas, TX, May 30, 2024 —The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) recognized the superstars of the travel industry this week at the 2024 Travel Advisor Conference in Dallas, Texas, May 29-30. 

During the conference, attended by 1,400 travel advisors, suppliers and industry professionals, the Society honored frontline travel advisors and agency owners who excel in their dedication to customer care. 

"We use the occasion of our annual conference to honor and celebrate excellence and outstanding achievement. From suppliers who make our distribution channel a priority, to the volunteer leaders who make our Society shine,” said Zane Kerby, President and CEO of ASTA. “Our industry will only ever be as good as the trust we’re able to create with travelers, and honoring the professionals who are committed to that mission is what we’re all about.”   

The following awards were presented on the main stage during the General Session at the Travel Advisor Conference.  

Voted on annually by ASTA membership, awards go to the members, chapters and supplier partners which best support ASTA’s overall mission. ASTA members also vote on which supplier company and representative best embody the spirit of partnership, from a substantial list of suppliers from every sector, to be awarded Partner Company of the Year and Partner Representative of the YearKristin Karst and AmaWaterways swept both of these categories in 2024.  

ASTA also asks members to nominate an individual who exhibits total commitment to the advisor community with a write-in vote. This year’s winner of the Supplier Medal of Excellence is Vicki Freed, Senior Vice President of Sales and Trade Support, Royal Carribean International. 

The ASTA chapter that exudes special qualities of conscientiousness, community building, and overall excellence is awarded the Robert L. Duglin Chapter Excellence Award. We congratulate this year’s winner, the Central Pennsylvania Chapter.   

Each year, the Travel Advisor of the Year Award recognizes a member who consistently goes the “extra mile” to provide exceptional service to their clients. Our membership team received over 200 nominations. This year’s winner is Velia Kennedy, Owner & CEO of Modern Family Travel. 

A full list of partner and member awards can be found below. Award photos are updated throughout the conference.  

Supplier Awards  

  • Partner Company of the Year: AmaWaterways
  • Partner Representative of the Year: Kristin Karst, AmaWaterways
  • Airline Partner of the Year: Delta Air Lines  
  • Transportation Partner of the Year: Enterprise, National and Alamo 
  • GDS Partner of the Year: Sabre Corporation 
  • Hotel Partner of the Year: Marriott International  
  • Ocean Cruise Line Partner of the Year: Royal Carribean International  
  • River Cruise Line Partner of the Year: AmaWaterways  
  • Tour Operator Partner of the Year: Globus Family of Brands 
  • Travel Insurance Partner of the Year: Allianz Partners  
  • North American Destination Partner of the Year: Hawai‘i Visitors & Convention Bureau 
  • International Destination Partner of the Year: The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism 
  • Supplier Medal of Excellence: Vicki Freed, Royal Carribean International  

Partnership Awards   

  • Travel Advisor of the Year: Velia Kennedy, Owner & CEO of Modern Family Travel 
  • Consortium Partner of the Year: Signature Travel Network & Virtuoso   
  • Regional Consortium of the Year: MAST Travel Network  
  • Host Agency of the Year: Avoya Travel Network 
  • Member Service Award: Hope Wallace with ADA Travel & Dave Hershberger with Prestige Travel Leaders Inc. 
  • President's Travel Advisor Leadership Award: Jean Paugh with All About You Travel Unlimited. 
  • ASTA Chapter on the Rise: Greater New Orleans  
  • George “Eddie” Woodham Chapter President of the Year Award: Senora Kelly, Missouri Kansas Chapter 
  • Regional Director of the Year: South East Regional Director Shelley Phillips 
  • Robert L. Duglin Chapter Excellence Award: Central Pennsylvania Chapter



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 our mission statement.  




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