Seattle, WA— With nearly 800 members representing 82 countries, the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) today announced that the American Tourism Society (ATS), a member-based tourism trade organization has joined with ATTA to bring to ATTA its geographic specialization within The Baltics, Central Europe, The Mediterranean/Red Sea, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
In December 2011, the ATS Board of Directors, joined by the ATS Chairman Emeritus Alex Harris, unanimously voted in favor of dissolving the ATS entity and encouraging its members to transition into the ATTA. Effective immediately, the ATTA-ATS agreement allows the 59 influential members of the ATS to transition into the ATTA, an association offering a similar mission, membership framework and fee structure. Don Reynolds, former executive vice president of ATS, has been retained to aid in the transition and to handle ATS member inquiries.
The ATTA has emerged in recent years as an active, recognized and well-respected trade organization that annually presents the Adventure Travel World Summit executive conferences. Joined together as a single entity under the ATTA brand, former ATS members bring to the ATTA an established strong and influential regional network, and extensive education and training programs, all of which are expected to improve the ATTA’s ability to help create, promote and serve sustainable tourism markets worldwide.
“Both our organizations bring strength and value to the industry, and we’ve shared some similar goals and interests for some time,” said ATTA President Mr. Shannon Stowell. “The time is right to come together to make greater strides in influencing critical issues such as sustainable development and responsible growth in tourism – especially in emerging destinations. The voice, spirit and mission of the ATS’s work over the past 25 years and its commitment to European relationships are especially pertinent as the ATTA expands its efforts in this pivotal region.”
To ensure continuity of the ATS heritage, best represent the interests of the former ATS membership, and improve the ATTA’s presence in the region previously overseen by the ATS, the ATTA will bring in two key members of the ATS Board to serve on the ATTA Advisory Board- Jan Rudomina, Director of Polish Tourism Board for North America and Malia Asfour, Director of the Jordan Tourism Board, North America.
“I have been a member of both the ATTA and ATS for many years, I have participated in both their events, and I have first-hand knowledge about the benefits of membership in each,” said Asfour. “Now, with ATS merging into the ATTA, the value of my ATTA membership is stronger, especially as it pertains to being a part of ATTA’s global reach, political clout, and enhanced networking opportunities. I urge each of my ATS associates and friends to renew membership by joining the ATTA to realize the benefits of combining these two industry groups!”
According to Phil Otterson, who most recently served as ATS President, “With the ATTA currently expanding into European regions that represent the ‘home turf’ of ATS, the ATS Board of Directors saw a strategic opportunity to continue the work of the association by combining efforts through a relationship that brings ATS members into the ATTA organization. Retaining an active and strategic voice for our network within the ATTA is important to both organizations, and this will be made possible within the ATTA’s online community exclusively for its members.”
The American Tourism Society was founded in 1986 by Alex Harris of General Tours, Dave Parry of Academic Travel Abroad, and other American tour operators promoting Eastern Europe, as the American-Soviet Tourism Society. The organization was reengineered in 1989 to become the American Tourism Society after the fall of communism, and again in 2006 as an organization highlighting transformational destinations. Throughout its 25-year history, the association has developed lasting relationships between American tour operators and tourism organizations in the former Soviet Union and throughout the world by holding conferences regarding transformational destinations in Moscow, St. Petersburg, the Baltic Republics, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Germany’s Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Kosovo.
The ATTA and its newest members from the ATS plan to work together to enhance connectivity between destinations, tour operators, travel agents, accommodations, service partners and media partners worldwide. In 2012, the broader membership group will collaborate to upgrade and integrate the complementary array of ATTA and ATS education, training, news, research, events, networking and education services for enhanced delivery to the membership.