7 Issues Confronting the American Society of Travel Agents

The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) faces several issues imposed by Trump administration on the organization and the sector.

1. Travel Bans and Cuba Retreat

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ASTA has called on the Trump administration to ensure that potential foreign visitors to the States hear a welcoming message about the country. Although most of the U.S. travel industry opposes the thrust of Trump’s travel policies, they do not want to get into his crossfire.

Trump administration has an anti-foreigner rhetoric,  made travel bans, and tightened Obama administration’s Cuba travel policies.

2. Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act

ASTA is actively opposing elements of the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, which would mandate additional travel agency disclosures to clients in a number of areas.

If the bill becomes law, travel agents could lose big bucks and would have to spend about 30 seconds extra on the phone during for each transaction reciting the new disclosures to customers.

3. Rebranding and a Marketing Campaign

A key question about the rebrand is — what will it actually accomplish? We’ll be seeing the effectiveness of a new marketing campaign. While we are on the topic, is the word “Society” still relevant and appropriate in 2018 and for the future?

4. #MeToo In Travel?

Does the lawsuit against Travel Leaders, in which a former female executive who worked there alleges sexual harassment; wrongful termination; and being passed over for a promotion for less-qualified men, represent a #MeToo moment for the travel industry?

5. How To Stem the Job Losses

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that travel arrangement and reservation services jobs in the United States fell 1.8 percent to 218,200 in July 2018 versus the year-ago period.

6. The Sharing Economy

Travel agents report that they are increasingly catering to millennial travelers, who don’t mind an Airbnb stay now and then. Will travel agents feel secure enough to incorporate such lodging types into their clients’ itineraries?

How will they convince up-and-coming generations to forgo booking directly on sharing economy websites so as not to lose this customer base?

7. Is Puerto Rico on the Agenda?

Discover Puerto Rico, the new destination marketing organization, will be presenting at the conference. With a no visa requirement and U.S dollars currency, Puerto Rico has a ton of hotel refurbishments and openings taking place in the next 6 months.

Will agents support the territory’s recovery by shuttling clients to San Juan and other destinations on the island?

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