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Travel Agents

 September 19, 2001
ASTA To Hold Referendum On Membership Bylaw Changes

 On Oct. 5, the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) will be sending out formal ballots to its membership regarding the proposed changes to the bylaws, as well as information on how the proposed changes will affect membership and how members can vote online.

The proposed change, approved by ASTA's Board of Directors at its August meeting, will open the Society to employees and independent contractors of members and non-ASTA member agencies. "In voting to pass the proposed changes to the bylaws," said ASTA President and CEO Richard M. Copland, CTC, "members will be voting to improve the services that the Society can offer them and their agencies, as well as giving all qualified sellers of travel access to the strength and support that ASTA represents within the travel industry.

"In the wake of our nation's recent disaster, it is more important now than perhaps at any other time in history that travel agents be unified in a strong national organization. Now is the time to come together again to create a more powerful organization. The new membership plan is a good thing for ASTA and great thing for its members," he continued.

The major changes, as outlined by the plan, are:

1) An increase in the voting representation currently enjoyed by Travel Agency Company members. Under the proposed changes, agency members will have two voting representatives and thus a greater chance to make their voices heard.

2) Qualified individual sellers of travel will now be eligible for membership in ASTA even if their affiliated agency is not a member. Individual agent members will be able to hold a national office and vote whereas previously they could only join as associate members and could neither hold a national office nor vote.

Members will be allowed to vote in the referendum in one of two ways-either by the traditional mailed-in ballot or online from ASTA's Web site at www.astanet.com. Those wishing to vote online must keep their paper ballot -- the ballot control number, which they will need to log in to ASTAnet's voting area, will be displayed there. Further instructions will be sent via e-mail to all members eligible to vote (see schedule below), outlining the full procedure in more detail.

Below is a schedule for the Membership Program bylaws referendum:

Oct. 5 - Ballots mailed to members along with proposed bylaw, ballot explanation document and election information on voting online. Material will also be posted on ASTAnet.
Oct. 10 - Announcement sent via separate e-mail on electronic voting.
Oct. 26 - Ballots are due in to Headquarters.
Oct. 30 - Results announced.