Alexandria, VA, August 2, 2016 – Building out its education capacity, the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) today announced the launch of a groundbreaking new course focused on ethics in the travel industry. The Society’s Business Integrity and Ethical Standards course is an in-depth study of critical ethical considerations facing travel agents and the industry as a whole in the twenty-first century.
“We are excited to launch this new course and help our members grow their business while avoiding ethical and legal pitfalls,” said Zane Kerby, ASTA President & CEO. “To consumers, the ASTA logo is synonymous with trust, and adding this course to our existing Code of Ethics will help drive that message home.”
Sponsored by Hilton Worldwide, Inc., the course is designed to address the key ethical issues impacting travel agents. Covered topics include agency relationships, fiduciary duties, legal compliance, and dispute resolution. The course includes a 60-page handbook, instructional video and a 40-question knowledge test. Pricing for the course starts at $39 for ASTA members and $225 for non-members, though several industry consortia including Signature Travel Network and Virtuoso have pre-paid for this and other courses for their members.
“The course, specifically tailored to the travel agency community, will provide both members and non-members the necessary context for evaluating their current business practices,” said Peter Lobasso, ASTA’s General Counsel and creator of the curriculum. “Agents completing the course will be in a better position to assess their vulnerability to lawsuits and also to identify areas where changes might be advisable.”
Separately, ASTA has released updates to its popular Regulatory Compliance handbook and course. New features in the 2016 course include guidance on how travel agents should disclose mandatory hotel resort fees, as well as an entirely new chapter on the complex and frequently-changing rules governing selling travel to Cuba. In addition, ASTA is making available a 10-question test and supplemental course for those who completed the 2015 test and want to focus on the 2016 material. The handbook is free to active ASTA members while the course pricing and setup parallels that for the ethics course (see above).
ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents) 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, it is the leading global advocate for travel agents, the travel industry and the traveling public. ASTA’s history of travel 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, visit ASTA.org.
ASTA’s sister association, The National Association of Career Travel Agents, represents a professional community of independent travel agents ready to assist the traveling public.