WATA World Association of Travel Agencies

It was on May 5th, 1949 that 8 professional travel agents from France, Italy, Belgium and Switzerland met in Geneva to create an international body to improve and rationalise the organization of the international tourism.

Under the leadership of their first President, Mr Daniel V. DEDINA from Paris, they started to legalize the trademark WATA, World Association of Travel Agencies, on a global basis.

Reading the minutes of the founders-meeting we feel the optimism which filled hearts and soul of this group of energetic men who, after emerging the frustrating experience of the post war immobility, looked forward to a thrilling and prosperous future.
What was the clear goal they had in mind ? NETWORKING.

Our forefathers worked from the assumption that each of them was doing in and outbound business and was therefore in need of trustworthy partners in foreign countries.

The network worked, business exchanges prospered and WATA enjoyed an excellent and growing reputation.

Destinations & Special Interest

Travel agents in all parts of the world have realized that competition is growing keener and that they are increasingly being called upon to produce something new in the way of tour itineraries if they are to retain the interest of their clientele, and particularly if they are to open up desirable new sources of tourist traffic. That interest has manifested itself in an expanding demand for tours incorporating a specific themes and deep knowledge of the destination.

WATA’s new platform dedicated to Destinations & Special Interest Tours is designed to provide the inspiration upon which outbound travel agencies can depend on for their future trading .

The Destination approach :
Destinations tend to focus on marketing their main prominent products in order to appeal to larger groups of travelers. For capital cities or familiar places (like UNESCO sites, historical sites), this works perfectly.This goes also according to some type of business : conferences, trade shows, beach resorts… A large city can position itself easily for MICE being the right place for large exhibitions & shows – like Milan and Fashion shows or for famous attractions like Munich with Oktoberfest or Rio with Carnival, Opera Season in Verona…

However to base promotion only on one aspect can only be a time-limited duration.

Our feeling is that clients will be appealed by the right destination promotion that includes a lot of possibilities for special interest travel. They will select a destination because of its overall offer and the possibility to include an added-value through the exciting experiences of themes that we will be in a position to propose.

This will obviously first refer to the main cultural and conventional attractions based on renowned cities, cultural – historical – architectural – geographical sites – traditions – etc. but surely this is not enough and this is where the local travel experts – long established into the destination – like WATA members are – will be in a position to adjoin more very specific products for the clients to find a supplementary personal satisfaction into the trip : (lace in Cyprus – how to create the famous azul in Portugal, cooking specific local cuisine, one bird living only in this part of the world, etc…)

This will also allow clients to go much further into the learning of the destination with a personal touch. They will be experiencing by themselves and be in direct contact with the local communities.

The special interest approach :
This refers to associating a trip to some concrete personal passions related to their hobby, their work, their spare time, their memories, their interest of the moment. No matter whether the subject or activity chosen is professional or occupational, the end product target is always the same – an opportunity to study at first hand the methods of other nationals in many other countries.
The list of such extended special interest passions is unlimited

Our worldwide selected Human-DMCs offer

  • Full and unique expertise on destination
  • Knowledge of service providers in destinations for best negociations
  • Experience, know-how
  • Creative and quick answers to your requirements
  • Neutral professional advises
  • Coordination of services
  • Efficient on-site assistance
  • Practical and concrete solutions
  • Responsibility

The WATA membership given to highly selected companies on the basis of one member per destination.

Who are the WATA Members :

Full and Exclusive Membership is open to inbound travel agencies- DMCs preferably privately owned, middle size, adhering to the highest professional ethics and enjoying a prominent position in their local community.
Priority is given to long-established companies in their destination ensuring that our members will be the best local travel experts having a complete knowledge of the place, the infrastructure –excellent relations with local suppliers.

Customers feel more confident in choosing our services as they recognize in the WATA logo a symbol of trust and professionalism – for the satisfaction of their clients.

WATA maintains a permanent secretariat as its headquarters in Switzerland – to cover the association’s administrative needs.

The Executive Committee is responsible for the administration and direction of the Association, its relationship with members and third parties, the fulfilling of the aims of the Association, compliance with the Articles of Association and Rules, resolutions of the General Assembly and ensures the legal representation of the Association.

The Executive Committee and the Secretary General are committed to keeping WATA a highly dedicated, enthusiastic and “democratic” network where plans and activities are constantly discussed with all Members and adapted to include new ideas.

The General Assembly is the supreme authority of the Association and is convened regularly every year. Each full member disposes of one vote.

The WATA Executive Committee is composed as follows :

Moris K. Kasar, President (Turkey)
Maria Do Carmo Freitas, Vice President (Portugal)
Giancarlo Carrera,Vice-President Treasurer (Switzerland)
Anna Khachaturova (Armenia)
Maria Kavadia (Greece)
Marina Parra, (Germany)
Rupinder Sehmi (Kenya)
Secretary General : Christine Fournier, Switzerland

Mission Statement

The World Association of Travel Agencies (WATA) is a worldwide organisation of selected travel agencies dedicated to the enhancement of the professionalism and profitability of member agents through mutual cooperation and global networking. Its members are committed to the highest standards of business ethics and quality of service to clients

Code of conduct

The aim of WATA is to be a worldwide network of agencies of which the quality is indisputable. This level of quality must be the characteristic of all WATA members.

To reach this level of quality, all WATA members should adhere to the rules mentioned in the Code of Conduct.

1. General rules applicable for transactions between WATA members, as well as between WATA members and non WATA members :
a) The services rendered by WATA members must be the most competitive in price for better, or at least equal, quality than that of their local competitors.
b) Replies to any request must be made without any delay. The new technologies, such as e-mails or faxes let us expect quasi immediate answers.
c) All payments must be effected according to the usual practice of the trade or within the period agreed upon.
d) Payments outside the country of residence of the WATA members must be effected in the currency agreed upon by the parties concerned. In case of exchange regulations applicable to intentional payments, it is the responsibility of the WATA member located in a country with such regulations to undertake all necessary steps to be able to meet the payment deadline agreed upon.
2. Special rules applicable to WATA members in their dealings with other WATA members :

When a WATA member has business for a certain destination, the WATA member of this destination must be given the opportunity to quote for such business. If this quotation is not accepted, the reasons for the refusal must be communicated, if requested.
a) WATA members must give priority to the services offered by other WATA members in their business dealings provided that such services are similar in price and contents to those of local competitors.
b) Terms of payment between WATA members should be fixed by agreement. However WATA members should benefit from the best facilities offered by the WATA members on the market. Pre-payments should only be asked for when the amount involved in the transaction is in excess of the WATA guarantee or when the servicing agency has to pay a deposit to secure the transaction.
3. Relations between the WATA members and the WATA headquarters
a) Each WATA member must inform the entire staff about WATA and one or two persons should be designated in each office as WATA contacts.
b) The invoices sent by the Headquarters must be paid within 30 days. In case of currency regulations applicable to international payments, if such regulations impose a longer delay the proof that the transfer has been requested immediately must be submitted to the headquarters.
c) Information of any nature requested by the headquarters must be supplied without delay.

To achieve the desired promotion of the WATA name, each member must
  • Print the WATA logo at least on his letter-head, vouchers, tariffs, e-mails, visit cards
  • Include WATA logo and link to WATA website on his personal websites
  • Clearly display the WATA emblem in his office
  • Promote at any occasion WATA and in particular with all partners of the travel trade of his city or region.

Christine Fournier