The travel industry is now slowly rebounding from its COVID-related loss. For two tough years, most travel agencies have struggled and even shut down. It was indeed the survival of the fittest, and in these hard times it was a test of their dedication and passion. Instead of backing off, these travel agencies were united. One of the organizations that has supported its members is the Independent Travel Agencies and Tour Operators Association, Inc., (ITATOA), spearheaded by their president, Ms. Lira Sarigumba. Finally, from virtual meetings, the plan to have the first ever face to face GMM (general meeting of members) became a reality on July 2, 2022 at the LA Hotspring Resort in Brgy. Masaya Bay, Laguna.
The ITATOA Team
ITATOA was founded by Ms. Lira Sarigumba and Jho Orlino in 2017. This was originally the Angel team, then they changed its name to Travel Shoppe. It was in 2018 that the officers registered it with the SEC under the name ITATOA, Inc. Mr. Allan Manuel is the first president of the organization (2018-2020) and they only started with 8-10 members. It was, of course, a credit to his great leadership because ITATOA will not be able to be what it is now except for him.
To be one of the trusted, creative, and patronized travel agencies in the country.
We share a mission of working together cooperatively and responsively by helping and assisting one another.
The Benefits of being an ITATOA member:
- Familiarization tours in local and international destinations
- Continuous project updates
- Networking opportunities
- Connecting and building partnerships
- Professional development and learning
- Recognition and exposure
- Support group
The ITATOA Officers 2022
It was a challenge for the next group of officers to exceed the company’s accomplishments, especially during the pandemic, but Ma’am Lira seem to have the superpowers. She is an enigmatic leader who continues to guide and inspire all the members. An organization cannot succeed without its competent and efficient leaders. Please find below the 2022 ITATOA Officers and Board of Trustees.
In a short interview with Ma’am Lira, the current president, (2021-2023), she has mentioned about her projects for the organization:
- to have more members
As of this writing, ITATOA has more or less 135 members. The organization’s aim is to support travel agencies and tour operators in the Philippines (with complete business licenses). Members treat one another as travel partners instead of competitors.
- more trainings for ITATOA
The officers promote professional development training for all members.
- more fam tours
With the common goal of promoting domestic and international tourism, the ITATOA Fam Tour committee plans and arranges everything. In this way, travel agencies can learn about the destination and determine which places or activities to include in tour packages.
The ITATOA GMM 2022
In order for ITATOA to achieve its goals, the officers, led by their president, Ma’am. Lira, has planned a GMM (General meeting of members) for the induction of the new members, product presentation from the sponsors, and of course to foster a collaborative environment. The program started with an inspiring welcome message from DOT NCR Regional DirectorSharlene Batin.
GMM is also a chance for owners of travel agencies to build camaraderie and meet new friends. With the Meet Me Bingo game, each member was able to discover members from North Luzon, Visayas; listen to members who shared their dream destination, unforgettable travel adventures; showcase their hidden talents, and give a message to the officers and their fellow ITATOANS.
It’s also a chance for the suppliers to meet the travel agency owners and offer different travel packages. Some of the sponsors who joined the GMM are:
- Red Doorz
- METEOR (Mediterranean Tour Operators)
- NEXT Holiday
- Queen Margarette Hotel
- OMAN Air
- Sulit Traveler Travel and Tours
Thanks to the leadership and dedication of Ma’am Lira and the cooperation of ITATOA officers and members, travelers will be assured of quality service. With ITATOA, the promise of rebuilding Philippine tourism is now at your fingertips.
PS: Are you waiting for my travel blog posts? Malapit na!!!! I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone. The Blogger Princess is still in the 100 Best Philippine Lifestyle Blogs and Websites. (#58 as of today)