Like so many industry conferences this year, the FTA was forced to cancel its annual “live” Summit and pivot to producing a virtual event that would once again bring together the industry’s leading authorities on family travel and shine a spotlight on the people, places and events shaping family travel today, and in the future. And even though we didn’t meet in person this year, the programming still delivered on our promise to better inform – and inspire — our members and the industry at large about what’s happening in this all-important niche market.
“Whether you know it or not, we all owe Interim Executive Director Colleen Hodson a huge Thank You.”
– Ken Shapiro
With 536 registered attendees signed up, Spotlight was hosted and produced by FTA Radio’s Aaron Schlein, along with Richard D’Ambrosio, the event kicked off with a message from FTA Founder, Rainer Jenss, and remarks from the industry veteran and new FTA Executive Board President, Ken Shapiro.
Shapiro reaffirmed the FTA’s mission: to be the only association of family travel professionals dedicated to providing its members with education, research, best practices and networking opportunities so they can better serve families with a variety of rewarding and enriching travel experiences. He also confirmed that the FTA has officially completed its transition from an LLC to a 501c6 non-profit.
“As a result of this change, the FTA is finally set up for future growth, including a whole range of new programs to benefit members. As long as we continue to receive the support of our members and our partners throughout the travel industry, we will finally have the structure in place — both organizationally and financially — to deliver on the promise of the FTA,” Ken reiterated.
Shapiro also went on to announce the FTA has been working on a new groundbreaking Supplier Certification Program for the industry. “We anticipate that this will be the FTA’s boldest and most important initiative to date.” Shapiro explained. ‘The FTA Family-Friendly Certification Program is meant to establish industry standards and guidelines for what it means to be “family-friendly” and truly committed to serving the needs and interests of traveling families. This will not only help travel advisors identify who to work with when planning their clients’ family travels, it will help consumers assess where and how to travel with their families. Throughout 2021, the FTA will be developing wide-ranging industry standards and criteria for the certification and developing the training portion of certification.”
And as far as the current Travel Advisor Certification Program is concerned, the FTA is working on a plan to expand the existing training course known as the FTA Academy – an indispensable tool that will give advisors an extra selling point for their clients.
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