The arrangement is for the mandatory membership to be phased in over the next two years. Travel Leaders is modifying its franchise agreements as they come up for renewal to add the mandatory ASTA membership language.
Travel Leaders Franchise Group also agreed to maintain its Premium Member status in ASTA.
The agreement will help ensure the future financial viability ASTA, said its president and ceo, Zane Kerby.
'The decision speaks to the work we do to promote and defend the entire travel agent community,' he added. 'We are grateful for our consortia and franchise partners and their leadership who are stepping up to the plate and recognizing that ASTA is the only national trade association advocating for the continued education and training, and positive growth of this profession.'
Travel Leaders Franchise Group's Roger Block, who was voted in as ASTA chairman in September, said if more organizations in the travel business supported the association it would help the industry 'to speak with one voice—a stronger voice.'
It was the third time this year ASTA has signed an agreement for membership, following those with Signature Travel Network and MAST Travel Network.
ASTA currently represents approximately 8,000 members, although the number is much higher considering the number of agents who are represented indirectly as employees of member agencies. Total firms represented are about 3,500, of which 2,000 are US domestic travel agencies.