The World Travel Agents Associations Alliance (WTAAA) held its bi-annual board meeting in Cordoba, Spain recently, just prior to the first World Summit of Presidents of Travel Agents Associations. WTAAA meets twice a year to discuss a range of issues that impact the global travel agency industry, as well as to share common problem-solving strategies. WTAAA also held its annual general assembly during which Lars Thykier (ETCAA) was re-elected chairman and David McCaig (ACTA) as vice chairman.
Thykier commented: “Travel is a global industry and the WTAAA brings a collaborative approach to discussing the many issues that the travel distribution value chain is confronted with and our agenda is designed to develop policy and outcomes that benefits travel agencies across the globe. WTAAA, which represents over 80% of travel agents around the world, is the global voice of the travel agent.”
Membership expansion, new allied membership opportunities and variety of other issues were also considered, including IATA’s NDC, something that WTAAA indicated it was “closely monitoring” and continuing to encourage IATA to maintain an open dialogue on NDC and to ensure that travel agents views are taken seriously.
The alliance’s position on NDC is driven by travel agent customers’ needs and expectations, and it indicated the following policy position:
!!! NDC is mainly an airline-GDS technology issue which they must resolve.
!!! WTAAA does support the improvement of the distribution of airline product merchandising.
!!! NDC must deliver a standard that enhances travel agency customers’ shopping experience.
!!! NDC must provide anonymous shopping as an option for all consumers and comparison shopping must not be restricted
!!! WTAAA will continue to engage with stakeholders on NDC-issues.
!!! WTAAA will look to support any appropriate solution that addresses these needs.
Thykier observed: “Travel agents have a bright future and with the dedicated global representation of the WTAAA many of the challenges that stretch across the 6 continents of the globe can be addressed by our movement.”
WTAAA will hold its next board meeting in Asia during the first quarter of 2014.