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ASTA’s 2008 International Destination Expo Offers Travel Agents Educational Opportunities

ASTA’s 2008 International Destination Expo Offers Travel Agents Educational Opportunities ( ASTA’s 2008 International Destination Expo (IDE) will take place April 12-16 in Lyon, France at the Lyon Convention Center. This expo will assemble travel agents and exhibitors in Lyon for a week of educational courses, networking and sightseeing. In 2008, IDE will focus primarily on French and Western European niche travel. The educational courses will feature a first-hand, experiential approach, allowing agents to make better recommendations to their clients once they return home. IDE provides agents with a chance to meet product and destination suppliers who do not typically attend trade shows in the United States.

“Agents attending IDE will benefit from the many courses offered and the new experiential approach,” said Cheryl Hudak, CTC, ASTA president and CEO. “Having an agent who speaks from experience is comforting to travelers and reassures them that they are creating an itinerary that will reflect their interests and personality.”

All attendees will have the opportunity to take the France Destination Specialist course. This course, courtesy of Maison de la France, is designed to furnish agents with a thorough understanding of France’s history, accommodations, transportation systems, dining and more. This course will also compliment the other seminars which focus on niche travel in the region.

“We’ve had a great response to the France Certified Agent program since its inception in 2003. Over 1500 travel agents have enrolled and to date there are 456 France Certified Agents who have passed the test and gone on our fam trips,” said Jean-Philippe Pérol, Director of the Americas of Maison de la France/The French Government Tourist Office. “Being able to sell France with confidence is a great asset for the agents and for tourism to France. One of the key benefits agents receive to support their sales would be to be listed in the France Certified Agent database accessible from the homepage of our Web site,, that the public can search to find a certified agent near them, and much more.”

For attendees who would like to help their clients plan the perfect honeymoon, there will be a Western European honeymoons course that will show agents how to plan clients’ unforgettable honeymoons to this popular and romantic region. In addition to the niche market seminars, IDE will feature seminars hosted by exhibiting suppliers such as Midi Hotel Barges and others. Keeping with the “experiential” theme, attendees will learn all there is to know about river and barge cruising by touring a river barge, highlighting everything that this form of cruising offers clients.

European rail travel is an option that many agents may not think to offer clients. The IDE course on rail travel will teach agents how to design a tour package that includes multiple cities, allowing tourists to enjoy the beautiful scenery and the art of traveling as much as the actual destinations. For agents whose clients are interested in a more adventurous vacation, IDE will offer courses on soft adventure such as: hiking, biking and various snow sports. The informational wine and gastronomy courses offered at the International Destination Expo will give agents a true taste of the region.

The International Destination Expo is the best place to become an expert in selling European vacations. The registration fee is $289 for attendees who register on or before Dec. 21 and $339 on or after Dec. 22. To learn more about the International Destination Expo or to register, visit

The mission of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) is to facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism. ASTA seeks a retail travel marketplace that is profitable and growing and a rewarding field in which to work, invest and do business.

Kristina Rundquist/ Sarah Wilhite 703-739-8710

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