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American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA)

The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) is the largest travel trade association in North America. ASTA maintains a Standards of Ethics Code for professional business practices in the travel industry.

Its 20,000 plus members include travel agents and the companies whose products they sell such as tours, cruises, hotels, car rentals, steamship lines, bus lines, resorts, government tourist offices, and other related interests in more than 120 countries and territories. ASTA has been a leading advocate for travel agents, the travel industry, and the traveling public and seeks to enhance the professionalism and profitability of member agents through effective representation in industry and government affairs, education and training, and by identifying and meeting the needs of the traveling public. ASTA conducts much of its agent training at its seven travel schools, known as the School at Sea.

In 1946, one year after its formation, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) cut agent commissions to 5 percent from 7.5 percent and ASTA was the organization that fought against and defeated this policy. In 1968, when President Johnson restricted travel outside of the United States, ASTA waged the largest grassroots campaign of its history. Today, ASTA continues its efforts to support travel agents and to fight for the traveling public in the legal and legislative arenas. ASTA endorsed legislation to protect passenger rights and end airline pre-emption are currently pending in Congress. ASTA is also pursuing legislation that would remedy the consequences of anticompetitive, predatory behavior on the part of airlines by giving travel agencies the right to bargain collectively. Anolik Law Offices´┐Ż landmark case, ASTA vs. Bank of America, established that national banks could not enter the travel industry.

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