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ASTA Announces New Asian Destination Specialists

( Alexandria, Va., May 2, 2007 –ASTA announced today that its newest Destination Certificates were awarded to travel agents who attended specialized training on such destinations as Thailand, China, India, Cambodia, Laos, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan at the International Destination Expo-Asia (IDE) in Jeju, Korea, March 25-29, 2007. IDE is designed to immerse travel agents in the culture, attractions and travel business of each year’s chosen destination. Included in the program of this year’s events was an open-floor trade show, one-on-one business meetings with suppliers, product seminars, networking events and sightseeing. A list of recently announced Asian Destination Specialists can be found

“As a travel agent, the knowledge received from immersing yourself in a particular destination is invaluable,” said Cheryl Hudak, CTC, ASTA’s president and CEO. “Networking with local professionals helps agents gain an in-depth understanding of the culture and environment of a region. ASTA’s IDE attendees took advantage of a unique opportunity to meet face-to-face with travel professionals from all over Asia, who shared a wealth of information that would otherwise be unattainable.”

“I enjoyed the International Destination Expo in Jeju, Korea. I learned fabulous new destination information, and met agents and vendors who are now such valuable resources. My pre- and post-tours will enable me to sell Korea and Thailand with exceptional new knowledge,” said IDE-Asia attendee Joan Hartlieb, of Publicis Meetings USA.

The IDE is not only an event for travel agents but also suppliers. More than 1,300 delegates attended IDE-Asia, and made substantial business contacts in Asia as a result. Among the attendees were 125 supplier companies who participated in the open-floor trade show, and product and destination seminars.

Dr. Petre Balas, president of Peter Express Tour Operator & Travel Agency in Romania said, “Six-thousand kilometers from Bucharest, Romania, I discovered a new destination for a great adventure. With its existing infrastructure and potential, Korea offers foreign visitors exceptional experiences. Its active presence in the international arena is reflected by the fact that Korea became a candidate for Olympic Winter Games and for a future World Exhibition.”
In addition to classroom training, exhibitors conducted product seminars to give agents an opportunity to learn about the latest travel industry products and services. There were more than 20 additional pre- and post-tours of everything from the Dazzling Diamond Mountain in Goseong, North Korea to Beijing, China.

The third annual IDE will be held in Lyon, France, April 12-16, 2008, where agents will receive specialist training in French destinations and other neighboring countries.

The mission of ASTA (the American Society of Travel Agents) 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/Jada Irwin

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