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Chapter News – Save The Dates June 15th and August 16th

A lot has been going on lately with your SoCal ASTA Chapter and ASTA National.

Our Millennials and Mentors event was a huge success and information about our June event will be sent to you shortly.

Many SoCal ASTA members went to Sacramento to lobby on behalf of Travel Agents and the traveling public.IMG_4437

SAVE THE DATE – TUESDAY AUGUST 16TH, for the SoCal ASTA Luxury Showcase, Symposium and Wine Tasting event. Suppliers that would like to exhibit can sign up by clicking here.

ASTA’s Maui 2016 event was excellent and educational.  ASTA is looking at the Bahama’s for 2017.

ASTA Destination Expo (ADE) attendees will have the opportunity to sign up for one half day sightseeing tour (either on June 2 or 4) and one full day sightseeing tour on June 5.  Be sure to sign up now in the Attendee Service Center, where you can also sign up for special events. It’s not too late to attend. Our chapter has one complimentary registration available.  Let us know by May 26th if you are interested in attending.

There are several special events (listed below) that must be signed up for in advance.

  • Site Inspection of CroisiEurope’s Belle de Cadix, Thursday, June 2, 2-4pm: Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to visit the only ship able to navigate on both river and ocean sailing on the Guadalquivir and Guadiana rivers and enjoy a cocktail reception onboard. Ship will be docked at Muelle de las Delicias.
  • Tapas Tour, June 3, 9-11:30pm: After our evening event on Friday, June 3, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a self-guided tapas tour through Seville. This delicious tour costs $35 and includes tickets for 3 tapas and 3 drinks to be used/accepted at numerous bars throughout the city, a city map of the bar locations and descriptions, along with contact numbers for the tour coordinators in the area in case you need guidance.  

Innovation, project management & staying relevant in the ever changing travel world.

Upcoming ASTA Events

We hope you’ll join us at one of our upcoming shows!

–       ASTA Destination Expo – June 2-5, 2016: There are already over 100 registered attendees signed up for next year’s ADE in Seville, Spain! Nothing beats actually being there. Register here.

–       ASTA Global Convention – September 25-28, 2016: Laugh at midnight, dance ’til dawn. Reno Tahoe has all the excitement you can imagine. Register here.

Kind regards,

Pamela Irwin , CTC, Chapter President

Upcoming Webinars from ASTA Headquarters

Webinar – ZIKA Virus – What Travel Agents Needs to Know | March 8, 2015

Webinar – Becoming a Travel Agent – A Great Career Choice| March 24, 2015

Webinar – Scenic Eclipse – World’s First Luxury Discovery Yacht| May 17, 2015

Recent ASTA Member Alerts & Press Releases

ASTA, ITN Productions Launch ‘Travel Agents Taking Off’ News Program |May 6, 2016

New Study Finds Travel Agents Save Consumers an Average of $452 Per Trip |May 2, 2016

ASTA Launches ‘Becoming a Travel Agent’ Course |April 29, 2016

ASTA Asks Disney Cruise Line to Reconsider Commission Cap |April 15, 2016

AMG Supports National Trade Association with Reduced Membership |April 14, 2016

Leisure Travel Alliance Offers Members Special Deal to Join ASTA |April 11, 2016

SoCalASTA Diamond Awards 2016

SoCal ASTA Honors Two Industry Legends at Diamond Awards Gala

D75_6659-Edit Diamond Entire honorees 2016

BEVERLY HILLS, CA, January 28 – The Southern California chapter of the American Society of Travel Agents (SoCal ASTA) honored industry legends Matthew Upchurch, CEO of Virtuoso, and Edie Rodriguez, CEO of Crystal Cruises, with its prestigious Diamond Award at the organization’s annual black tie event held January 23 at the Beverly Hills Hotel. 

Upchurch and Rodriguez were recognized for their outstanding, unique, lasting, and extraordinary contributions to the travel industry and for their ongoing support of ASTA on a national level.

From agency owners to top front-line travel advisors, the annual event was attended by more than 270 of the “who’s who” in the luxury travel industry in Southern California.

The evening’s other notable award winners were:

• SoCal ASTA Susan D. Tanzman Advocate Award: Assembly member Jacqui Irwin from California’s 44th Assembly District for her recently authored bill AB1107 that updated the California Seller of Travel law;
• SoCal ASTA Travel Agent of the Year: Bell O. de Souza, Mansour Travel Company
• SoCal ASTA Allied Cruise Member of the Year: Susie Hogan, Oceania Cruises
• SoCal ASTA Allied Land Member of the Year: Joshua Poole, Starwood Hotels & Resorts
• SoCal ASTA Allied Air Member of the Year: Ted Brady, Emirates Airlines
• SoCal Allied Travel Insurance Member of the Year: Pam Ross, Travel Guard

SoCal ASTA President Pamela Irwin thanked SoCal ASTA members and volunteers for their continued support and for their efforts in making the evening a success. She also thanked the Beverly Hills Hotel for hosting the Diamond Awards for the third consecutive year. Assembly Member Jacqui Irwin presented each honoree with a Certificate of Recognition from the California Legislative Assembly. 

SoCal ASTA will donate a portion of the proceeds from the evening’s silent auction to ASTAPAC, California Coalition of Travel Organizations, and several local charities including: St. Vincent Meals on Wheels, Chrysalis and The Fred Jordan Mission.

So Cal ASTA is Partnering with the Travel and Adventure Show to Promote Consumer Awareness of Travel Agents. Our chapter will have a booth at the shows in San Diego and Long Beach to promote using an ASTA Travel Agent when booking travel. We are looking for volunteers for 3 hours shifts during show hours each day from 10am – 5pm. Parking will be reimbursed for all volunteers!

The dates are: San Diego January 16 – 17, 2016 ● San Diego Convention Center and Long Beach February 27 – 28, 2016 ● Long Beach Convention Center.  Please sign up at and contact Suzanne at Sports Empire – or 562-920-2350 if you have any questions.

Please contribute today for ASTAPAC.  Just click here.


Our December SoCal ASTA  joint Holiday Luncheon with Skal Club Los Angeles was lovely afternoon for all.

Check back for details on our Afternoon Tea and Advocacy event coming soon.

Our SoCal ASTA Millenials and Mentors meeting at the London Hotel, “Dancing with the Stars and PNR’s”.  Thank you to everyone that came and to Myste, Gabriella and the London Hotel for making it possible.

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Nominations for Diamond Awards are open until midnight October 15th

We have received many notable nominations for our annual SoCal ASTA Diamond Awards to be held in January 2016. Click here to nominate



No donation is too small.  For every $25 donation, your name will be entered into our ASTAPAC drawing for some special travel prizes to be announced at our November Millennials and Mentors Thanksgiving Mixer.

Our Luxury Travel Showcase and Symposium was a huge success. Thank you to all of the over 250 agents that attended, our supplier partners –

Crystal Cruises, MH Ross Travel Insurance Services, Qatar Airways, Travel Insured International, JDB Fine Hotels and Resorts, Private Trade Winds, Turkish Airlines, Avalon Hotels, SIT Italy,    Auto Europe, Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau, Occidental Hotels & Resorts, The Royal Hideaway, Outrigger Hotels & Resorts, Sports Empire, The Dorchester Collection, Ya’lla Tours USA,  Fiji Fantastic by Marso Travel Marketing, The Resort at Pelican Hill, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, Magister Tours – Experts in travel to Turkey, Starwood Hotels, Disney Destinations, Travel Guard, Noble House Hotels and Resorts, TRAVELEX Insurance Services, AM Resorts, Celebrity Cruises, Goway Travel Inc, ICS Travel Group, Insight Vacations, Pebble Beach Resorts, Melia Hotels International, Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates, Tahiti Legends by Roberts Representation, Super Value Tours, AMAWaterways, Cunard Line, Hard Rock Hotels All Inclusive Collection, Emirates, The Address Hotel & Resorts, Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort and Andaz Penninsula Papagayo Resort Costa Rica, Allianz Global Assistance, Personalized Services, Santa Monica Travel & Tourism, The Haven by Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Marival Hotel Group – Riviera Nayarit, Hotel Zephyr, Corinthia Hotels London & Budapest, International Expeditions,  Silversea, Air Calin, Azamara Club Cruises, Insider Journeys – Asia Specialists since 1993, Czech Tourist Authority , Phillippine Department of Tourism, GOGO Worldwide Vacations, CIE Tours International and all of our distinguished panelists.

Panelists from left – Tama Holve, Lois Mitchell, Mickey Weill, Andi McClure-Mysza, Robin Sanchez, Dan Ilves, Bell deSouza

SoCal Millennials and Mentors will be hosting our next Thanksgiving Member Mixer in November…..Details TBA

 “Uniting today’s leaders in travel with tomorrow’s leaders in travel. Partnering together with an honest and open sharing of ideas and values where we embrace and welcome all members of the travel community for networking and shared learning designed to strengthen the entire travel industry. “ 

News from ASTA Headquarters –

ASTA Welcomes More Than 900 Attendees to the Global Convention in D.C.

The Southern California Chapter for ASTA was named first runner up for

“Chapter of The Year 2015”.

The buzz was almost audible, the vibe was electric and ASTA delegates to the 2015 AGC were agreeing—ASTA is back. The convention program was diverse, and in fact drew heavy press coverage of travel agent issues during and after the show. Among the many highlights – a panel of consortia executives, an intergenerational discussion by well-known industry members, and a keynote address on branding and social media by an animated speaker from outside the travel industry, Sasha Srauss.

For international members, networking was the key focus of ASTA’s Global Travel Exchange (GTE). ASTA chapters from Kenya and Nigeria had a particularly large contingent at GTE, connecting with American agents who are in a position to send them business. The tradeshow floor was also sold out on both Monday and Tuesday, where attendees were able to connect with more than 125 exhibitors. And, for the first time in almost 20 years, three top airline executives from Delta, United, and American appeared on stage at the opening session. In the spirit of forging new relationships, Bob Somers of Delta Air Lines said, “Shame on us for being absent for so long [but] the importance of the travel agent was never lost on us. You have our commitment to have your back and provide you with the service you need.”                                                          

                                  Registration Opens for 2016 ASTA Events 

As you may already know, we have opened registration for three shows next year where you can see all Hawaii has to offer, learn to Flamenco dance in Spain or possibly soar in a hot air balloon over Reno and see lovely Lake Tahoe. We hope you’ll join us at one of our 2016 shows.

  • ASTA Maui Showcase – May 11-15, 2016: It’s always a good time to go to Maui! Space will be limited. Register today.
  • ASTA Destination Expo – June 2-5, 2016: Nothing beats actually being there. ASTA returns to Europe in a big way, Seville, Spain. Register here.
  • ASTA Global Convention – September 25-28, 2016: Laugh at midnight, dance ’til dawn. Reno Tahoe has all the excitement you can imagine. Online registration form is now available.

Very best wishes,

Pamela Irwin, CTA, CTC

SoCal ASTA Chapter President

and your

SoCal ASTA Board Members 2014-2016

Vice President – Tama Holve

Treasurer – Patty Thorington

Secretary – Rhonda Shumway 

Allied Committee Chair – Sheri Machat

Venue Committee Chair – Bell de Souza

Past Presidents Committee Chair – Stan Jones 

Legislation Committee Chair – Susan Tanzman

Membership and ASTAPAC Committee Chair – Steve Orens

Social Media and M & M Committee Chair – Gabriella Latini

P.S. Please let us know if you would like to volunteer to assist us with our SoCal ASTA chapter. We would love to have you on our team.

Please support all of the suppliers that support our SoCal ASTA chapter.  They are all listed on our website and at the bottom of this newsletter.

If you have any questions, please let us know or call the ASTA Membership Department at 800.ASK.ASTA or email


  • ASTA Maui Showcase – May 11-15, 2016: It’s always a good time to go to Maui! Space will be limited. Register today.
  • ASTA Destination Expo – June 2-5, 2016: Nothing beats actually being there. ASTA returns to Europe in a big way, Seville, Spain. Register here.
  • ASTA Global Convention – September 25-28, 2016: Laugh at midnight, dance ’til dawn. Reno Tahoe has all the excitement you can imagine. Online registration form is now available.


SoCal ASTA Millenials and Mentors Mixer – November 2015

SoCal ASTA Holiday Meeting December 2015

SoCal ASTA Diamond Awards January 2016

Upcoming Webinars from ASTA Headquarters

 ASTAPAC- Representing Travel Agents | October 8, 2015 | 2pm ET

Recent ASTA Member Alerts & Press Releases

ASTA Inducts New Board of Directors, Executive Committee | September 3, 2015

Jay Ellenby, Jackie Friedman Honored for Advocacy Work| September 2, 2015

ASTA Global Convention Attendees Get First Peak at New 2016 Event—The ASTA Maui Showcase | August 19, 2015

Signature Travel Network Supports ASTA with Renewed Membership Contract | August 18, 2015