Brussels, Belgium, December 5, 2019 – The World Travel Agents Associations Alliance (WTAAA) held its annual General Assembly and bi-annual Board meeting in Seville, Spain, Nov 4-5 2019, selecting a new executive committee, and uniting together to represent and defend the business interests of its travel agency members within the distribution chain.
The newly elected WTAAA Executive Committee includes:
- Chair – Mark Meader (ASTA)
- Vice Chair – Lars Thykier (ECTAA)
- Vice Chair – Paula Cortes Calle (FOLATUR)
- Secretary – Courtney Duddleston (AFTA)
- Treasurer – Wendy Paradis (ACTA)
“The WTAAA stands together, united in our commitment to promote and grow the travel agency distribution channel globally. Our advocacy work, aimed at strengthening agency channel distribution through air, land & sea, technology and more, will continue and expand to ensure fair and equitable governance, delivering favorable outcomes for all members of the WTAAA,” said WTAAA Chair Mark Meader.
Now in its eleventh year, the WTAAA has well and truly imbedded itself as the global voice of the travel agency industry. As a result of the Thomas Cook Group liquidation in September 2019, there was fresh discussion among delegates around the global industry’s approach to airline insolvency and its impact to the travel agency channel. However, in light of the recent collapse and the evolving landscape of the industry, the WTAAA board remains bullish and confident on the future of the global travel agency industry, with expected growth and profitability expanding well into the future.
The WTAAA will insert itself wherever needed to ensure it has and maintains a seat at every relevant table impacting the agency community, influencing outcomes as appropriate. Its members are the driving force behind the advocacy work being done, with WTAAA playing a key role in influencing decisions that will have an impact on the agency community, including participation in IATA’s (International Air Transport Association) Passenger Agency Programme Global Joint Council (PAPGJC), direct travel agency input into IATA Resolutions dealing with the Travel Agency Commissioner Program, and industry alignment on the challenge of rising non-commissionable fares in any channel.
The WTAAA is unified in advocating for fair and equitable governance within every sector of travel. This equates to equal footing for the global agency community as rules, procedures and guidelines are made, changed or evolved in any travel distribution channel.
During the Seville board meeting, WTAAA delegates were provided an update from Boeing on the Boeing 737 Max grounding and ongoing efforts on certification of the airplane to flight. Boeing said it had completed development of the updated software for the 737 MAX and has been working closely with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other global regulators on the certification of the software update and training package for its return to service. WTAAA will continue to maintain an open dialogue with all airlines and suppliers, to ensure its members remain informed and the issues of the agency community are heard and recognized.
WTAAA meets twice a year to discuss issues that impact the global travel agency industry, to share common problem-solving strategies and to trigger the necessary advocacy work needed to continuously support and grow the agency community around the world.
The mission of the World Travel Agents Associations Alliance (WTAAA) is to act as the global travel agency voice through the exchange of ideas and information. WTAAA members include the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA), Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA), Association of Brazilian Travel Agents (ABAV), European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Associations (ECTAA), Association of South African Travel Agents (ASATA), Spanish Federation of Travel Agencies (CEAV), Federation of ASEAN Travel Associations (FATA), Latin American Tourism Forum (FOLATUR) , Korea Association of Travel Agents (KATA), Society of IATA Passenger Agents (SIPA), Travel Agency Federation of India (TAFI) and Travel Agents’ Association of New Zealand (TAANZ).