This morning at ASTA’s convention, president and CEO Zane Kerby announced that ASTA is launching its ASTA Verified Travel Advisor Certification Program (VTA). The ASTA Verified Travel Advisor designation allows the travel industry and the consumer know that an individual has met ASTA’s criteria for industry knowledge, professionalism, and ethics.

The 9-course program is an advanced certification available for agents once they have completed and passed the core courses within the program. Most of the courses take about 1.5 hours to complete and include an exam. Agents will receive a certification of completion after passing each course exam, and will earn a VTA certificate once all nine courses are completed, which must be complete within one year. Guidelines on how to maintain the VTA certification are currently under development. The courses in the program include: Advanced Public Speaking, Ethics for Travel Advisors, Legal Overview for the Travel Agency Industry, Marketing You! Promoting Your Value, Project Management and Planning for the Travel Advisor, Real World Sales Tactics, The Art and Science of Negotiation, Agency Relationships and the Law, and U.S. Travel Agency Regulatory Compliance 3rd edition. ASTA plans to offer elective courses in the future, as well as new core courses as part of its continuing education program.

Any agent who meets membership criteria to join ASTA anywhere in the world can enroll in the VTA program. If an agent is not a current member of ASTA, the VTA registration fee includes a 1-year membership in ASTA. The VTA program is $399 per ASTA members, $598 (including 1-year ASTA membership) for non-member independent travel advisors, and $729 (including 1-year ASTA membership) for non-member travel advisors. For more information, visit