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AA, United, Southwest all beat Wall St. expectations
Yelp, TripAdvisor expand booking options
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Travel Leaders franchise group
to require membership in ASTA
By Kate Rice
Travel Leaders Associates franchise
group will mandate ASTA membership for all its agents, beginning
Jan. 1. The group will phase in the
mandate over two years and embed it in franchise contracts as they
come up for renewal. ASTA is discounting the membership rate for
new and existing Travel Leaders
Travel Leaders Associates is the third agen-
cy group in the last five months to go beyond
merely encouraging its members to join
ASTA. In September, Signature Travel Net-
work mandated membership, and in June,
The impact will be dampened by the fact
that a majority of Travel Leaders Associates’
201 individual franchisees in 360 locations
are already members of ASTA. In addition
to the agents’ mandate, the franchise group
will maintain its Premium Member status in
The Travel Leaders Franchise Advisory
Board voted unanimously to implement the
membership requirement, the company said.
The announcement is the latest in a series
of efforts by consortia, hosts and franchisers
to compel their members to join ASTA.
Industry changes over the past 20 years
have driven most independent agencies
to affiliate with consortia, franchises, host
agencies or cooperatives in order to realize
Agent-experts in booking aid workers
find Ebola presents unique challenges
By Kate Rice
While much of the world tries to block
or limit travel to and from Ebola-stricken
countries, staff at travel agencies such as Safe
Harbors Travel Group, Diversity Travel and
Raptim Travel Group spend their days —
and many nights — struggling to book aid
workers into Ebola hot spots.
“Everybody else is going in the opposite
direction,” said Karbun Tang, chief sales officer for Raptim Travel Group, an international travel firm with U.S. headquarters in
Lewiston, N. Y.
The job means finding humanitarian fares
and dealing with increasingly limited flight
options and tightened travel restrictions on
aid workers whose schedules have them ro-
tating in and out of Ebola-stricken areas.
These agents are monitoring a situation
in a constant state of flux. In one recent instance, aid workers arriving in Sierra Leone
faced navigating the country in the midst of
a three-day, 24-hour curfew.
Tightened screening procedures for travelers leaving Ebola-stricken countries — either
exiting the country itself or changing planes
in a foreign airport on a multi-leg trip to get
to their final destination — adds to the com-plexities of booking these trips. For those
reasons, some agents are starting to extend
the length of layovers for travelers transferring from one airline to another when they
leave affected areas.
As flight options grow increasingly
See HUMANITARIAN on Page 85
See ASTA on Page 85
WWW.TRAVELWEEKLY.COM OCTOBER 27, 2014
PKF economist Jamie Lane finds Ebola is
having no impact on the hotel industry.
Safari Spots to explore Kenya on a six-night
tour of game reserves beginning May 23.
Signs and an app are part of an initiative to
educate visitors on Garden Isle history.
Our industry’s advice to travelers this fall:
Get a flu shot and go somewhere nice.