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25,000 Students ‘Get Certified’ from The Travel Institute

25,000 Students Get Certified from The Travel Institute

Record number of graduates bodes well for travel agents and industry



FRAMINGHAM, MA, April 2, 2018 – The Travel Institute, the non-profit organization known for setting the gold standard in travel agent education since 1964, has reached another milestone in its more than half century of service to travel professionals: the certification of its 25,000th graduate from among its flagship Certified Travel Associate (CTA), Certified Travel Counselor (CTC), and Certified Travel Industry Executive (CTIE) programs.


Earning the 25,000th honor is Gena Garcia, travel agent at the Automobile Club of Southern California, who officially completed her CTA program in March.


“Reaching that 25,000 mark is definitely a WOW moment for The Travel Institute because it underscores the depth and breadth of our reach and our ongoing dedication to the job readiness of our graduates,” said Diane Petras, CTIE, COO of The Travel Institute.


According to Petras, achieving 25,000 certified graduates also indicates a promising future for the travel agency community, especially for professionals who seek the higher level of expertise that the CTA, CTC, and CTIE credentials provide. “Gena Garcia truly exemplifies today’s travel agent professional. She’s young, vibrant, and eager to be the best that she can be for her members,” Petras added.


Garcia has been a travel agent for four years, having come from a sales position in the telecommunications industry before joining AAA. She enrolled in The Travel Institute’s CTA program because of the industry knowledge that the curriculum provided. “Also, the fact that the Auto Club wanted to invest in my skills and abilities to further ensure my success was another key motivator,” said Garcia, who was awarded “Rookie of the Year” by the Auto Club in 2016 for highest sales performance in California. She was also named to the President’s Club in 2016 and 2017, an elite circle representing the top 10 percent of AAA’s travel agents in the club.


Auto Club Vice President Pamela Shepherd congratulated Garcia on earning the CTA and her dedication to delivering exemplary service to her customers. She said the organization places a high value on continuing education and its partnership with The Travel Institute. “The Auto Club and its affiliate clubs offer The Travel Institute destination specialist courses to our travel counselors as part of their ongoing education requirements. The CTA program is the next step in offering our agents opportunities to further develop their knowledge and skills, stand out among their peers, and provide legendary service to our members,” said Shepherd, who considers certification and specialization as a strong indication of one’s commitment to personal development and dedication to the travel industry


On March 21 Petras presented Garcia with a framed certificate from The Travel Institute commemorating the achievement. Club officials also in attendance were:

  • Simone Arden – California Region 3 Manager
  • Tari Cody – Branch Operations Manager
  • Robert Pugh, CTC – Travel Project Lead
  • Pamela Shepherd – Vice President of Branch Operations


The Travel Institute holds graduates like Gena Garcia in high regard, noting the tremendous dedication required of the certification programs. “Earning your certification is a commitment to your career,” said Petras. “All of our graduates are appreciated, so it’s important that we shine the light on them because of what they’ve accomplished for both themselves as well as their clients.”



About The Travel Institute

Established in 1964, The Travel Institute serves as a community of knowledge and insight for all travel professionals. Through innovative education programs, professional certifications and customized learning solutions, The Institute fulfills its non-profit mission to promote a standard of industry knowledge and excellence. For more information about The Travel Institute, visit or call (800) 542-4282.