This March, the Austrian National Tourist Office has launched a cross national agents training programme for its overseas markets.
Known as the Austrian Certified Travel Specialist programme, (ACTS) it is set to roll across all the GCC countries, India and Asian nations simultaneously.
Says Klaus Ehberenger, Austrian Tourism Board, “There is a steady demand for trips to Austria. Middle East arrivals have increased by 22.6 per cent and bed nights have risen by 21.1 per cent. With most bookings originating from the travel agencies, the impact of the travel professionals on the travel decision making process is correspondingly high. On the other hand, the travel agent’s knowledge about destinations is quite low sometimes. The ACTS programme is all about improving the agent’s bonding and destination knowledge through support.”
The programme, which is perhaps the only one of its kind to be offered to travel agencies by a national tourist office, consists of four stages for the training of agents as specialists in Austria. Workshops for agents will be given throughout the GCC from March 6 to 12.
The Austrian National Tourism Board has also set up an online academy at www.acts-academy.com which offers a free course with interactive components that allows travel professionals to learn more about Austria and earn the designation of ACTS.
In order not to loose the status as an ACTS, the agents need to attend an update course each year. The best 15 to 20 graduates of each market will be invited for a fam trip to the regions of the participating partners in autumn 2008.
There are numerous benefits to be gained from taking the course. Apart from gaining ACTS status, there will be online listing of ACTS Agencies on the ANTO website and a host of other preferential benefits to be achieved from the exercise.
The online academy is a free course, presented with engaging fun interactive components and valuable marketing tips and support. The course is divided into modules, each of which has to be completed with a short quiz on the content.
Examples include the module welcome to Austria, which introduces participants to the travel destination Austria, covering geography, culture and history.
Austria’s destinations consists of several modules, for example, Vienna, Salzburg and Innsbruck, which give an overview on Austria’s provinces and main cities and describes many destinations with great travel ideas.