The World Travel Agents Associations Alliance (WTAAA) held its bi-annual board meeting in Abu Dhabi, UAE, September 25-26, 2018, elected a new board, executive committee, and addressed many of the issues facing the global travel agency community today.
In addition, the WTAAA board set a new direction for the alliance with the formation of 4 key working committees which will be tasked with seeking outcomes and solutions for the benefit of the members of the WTAAA, 63-member state travel agency associations.
The following newly elected WTAAA Executive Committee include:
Chair – Mark Meader – American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA)
Vice Chair – Praveen Chugh – Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI)
Vice Chair – Guillermo Correa Sanfuentes – Federation of Latin American Travel Associations
Secretary – Michel de Blust – European Travel Agents and Tour Operators Associations
Treasurer – Wendy Paradis – Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA)
The following newly elected WTAAA Board (Directors, Deputy Directors) will hold a two- year-term:
Association Countries/Regions Directors Deputy Directors
ABAV Brazil Geraldo Jose Zaidan Rocha Marcelo Marcos de Oliveira
ACTA Canada Wendy Paradis Heather CraigPeddie
AFTA Australia Jayson Westbury
ASATA South Africa Otto de Vries Dinesh Naidoo
ASTA USA Mark Meader Eben Peck
CEAV Spain Rafael Gallego Nadal Eva Blasco
ECTAA Europe Michel de Blust Lars Thykier
FATA ASEAN Hamzah Rhamat Pauline Suharno
FOLATUR Latin America Guillermo Correa Sanfuentes Paula Cortes Calle
KATA South Korea Moo-seung Yang Sa-woon Hong
SIPA Hong Kong Larry Lo Sunil Nanda
TAFI India Praveen Chugh Jayesh Tharani
TAANZ New Zealand Andrew Bowman Andrew Olsen
Mark Meader, the incoming Chair of the WTAAA said, “The WTAAA has now been established for over a decade and is ready to move to the next level of organizational development expected from global representative bodies”.
Further he said, “As travel agency owners across the global meet the challenges faced by the 1.3 billion global travelers each year, it is important that their voice is heard as a critical voice in the global value chain, and that the WTAAA is well placed to ensure this is achieved”.
During the WTAAA Board meeting, the organization set a new direction with the establishment of four key working committees which include:
Air Committee – to look at challenges faced by travel agents and advisors through airline relationships, the IATA BSP, NDC, One Order and other matters which provide an interface between the aviation industry and travel agents and advisors.
Land & Sea Supplier Committee – will address the ever-changing landscape of travel suppliers across land, sea, river and ancillary travel product suppliers.
Technology Committee – will be charged with interfacing with the important Global Distribution Systems and other tech suppliers within the travel landscape and be involved at a global level of matter which may impact travel agents and advisors.
Strategy/Opportunity Evolution Committee – this final committee will look at the strategic direction of the alliance, address membership growth, strategic relationships and other matters that may provide future opportunities for the WTAA in which to engage in support of the agency community worldwide.
Each of these new groupings will be populated by the WTAAA board directors and deputy directors going forward and will each develop a work plan to seek to address relevant issues and their outcomes for the betterment of the global travel agency community.
“This new committee structure will allow various members of the WTAAA to focus on specific areas of importance and look to set in place ideas and concepts to seek favorable outcomes for all members of the WTAAA” said Chair, Mark Meader.
In addition to the forward looking operational structure of the WTAAA, the Board discussed the IATA Passenger Program which is now in need of an immediate governance overhaul, the agenda of the upcoming IATA PAConf/42 including many subjects that do not improve the operational settings for travel agencies, several additional IATA initiatives and their market readiness including New Distribution Capability (NDC) and One Order along with the current VISA challenges faced by some countries such as South Africa, as well as other matters being faced by the global agency community.
The WTAAA continues to be the global voice for all travel agency owners and its 63-member state associations that interact with and support the WTAAA. It is focused on outcomes of significance and looks to engage with like minded organizations to improve business for our member state organizations, travelers globally and to foster more in depth meaningful working relationships with all likeminded organizations within the travel and tourism industry.
“This WTAAA Board meeting has been an agenda packed interaction and I look forward to working with all engaged in the travel value chain on mutually beneficial outcomes that provide a win/win outcome for all involved” said Chair Meader
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