The most famous golf course in the world was the backdrop for the American Society of Travel Advisors’ (ASTA) first-ever Travel Masters, held earlier this month, at St. Andrews, Scotland, the home of golf and the 2022 British Open in July. This invitation-only leadership event brought together agency owners and supplier executives at the renowned Fairmont St. Andrews, where close to fifty participants gathered for a once-in-a-lifetime experience to golf on the Castle Course and Old Course.
“We are a mission-driven organisation comprised of over 17,000 U.S. based travel advisors who rely on us to represent them at all levels of government, within the industry and to the traveling public,” said Zane Kerby, President and CEO of ASTA. “The Travel Masters brought together executive leaders, from both the supplier and agency community, who believe in this mission and who believe in ASTA’s advocacy. The generous support of our partner sponsors; BCD and United Airlines, American Airlines, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Signature Travel Network, and Viking, literally made this event possible. Their presence builds ASTA and strengthens our ability to fulfill our mission.”
Ken McNab, Managing Director at the Travel Company Edinburgh and ASTA’s UK chapter president, spotted and made ASTA aware of the opening at St. Andrews back in 2020, working with ASTA’s late Bob Duglin. Ken, along with his compatriot, Angelina Fairgrave at the Travel Company Edinburgh, worked tirelessly to bring the Travel Masters program to life.
“ASTA’s commitment to support this event brought Scotland an open door to improve our international traffic through the stream of our U.S. trade partners,” said McNab. “The team at The Travel Company Edinburgh and In2Scotland believe that the refreshed relationships developed through our partnership will help us face the new world of travel together. With the success of this event, we can focus on strengthening trade and ties with the U.S. and our partners through ASTA.”
Supporting ASTA’s advocacy mission through executive leadership was the primary focus of this inaugural event in St. Andrews. Jennifer Wilson Buttigieg, Co-President of Valerie Wilson Travel, a Froch Company, is the co-chair of ASTA’s Government & Political Affairs Committee and the driving force behind gathering industry advocacy support as Honorary Chair of the Travel Masters event.
“I am a long-standing partner and advocate for ASTA,” said Wilson Buttigieg. “I was honored to be a part of this inaugural ASTA Travel Masters event. With two major industry shifts occurring: (1) a rebound in travel as we migrate from pandemic to endemic globally and (2) the heighten role of the travel advisor - it is critical that we continue to speak in one unified voice. This event was a fantastic forum to discuss, share and raise money. We still have a long way to go, and this is one of many initiatives. Please get involved!”
St Andrews Links - Old Course is nominated as Scotland’s Best Golf Course 2022 by World Golf Awards.