The Travel Industry Association of Florida's objective is to engage and build productive relationships between South Florida travel agencies and industry suppliers, by conducting educational seminars for our members on a monthly basis. Our goal is to unite all sectors of the travel industry and provide a forum of interaction between them.
Our mission is to educate our members on new and emerging travel destinations. Each month we feature a different supplier. We often invite an official Tourism Board to teach us the logistics of their destination, including its geography, culture, hotel offerings and activities. Our monthly event may also feature a major cruise line featuring a new ship, a tour operator offering their packaged products, or an individual hotel giving our members in depth knowledge about their property.
By having a networking hour prior to each monthly event, we create the opportunity for agents to share ideas and partner with fellow colleagues as well as to interact with vendors, learn about their products, and find ways to establish strong business relationships.
In addition to our monthly events, we also offer our members the opportunity to attend TIA exclusive supplier sponsored events and educational workshops, and we take advantage of our privileged location by conducting ship tours at Port Miami and Port Everglades throughout the year.
Comprising of 170 members (as of December 2018) The Travel Industry Association of Florida (T.I.A.) is the largest local organization of its kind, creating effective partnerships between all sectors, and setting high standards for the South Florida travel industry community.
The Travel Industry Association of Florida was incorporated in 1965 with the purpose of bringing all members of the travel industry into one cohesive organization. At that time there were a few other local travel organizations, but they were designed specifically for travel agents, airlines or cruise lines. There was not an organization in South Florida that was willing to welcome all segments of the industry. That is what differentiates us from other organizations.
Our first meeting was held in 1966, and Mr. Ernie Lara of Travel Wise was our first President. The meetings were held on the fourth Thursday of every month, and board meetings were held on the first Thursday of every month.
At the time, the association had a few restrictions on the makeup and numbers of the membership. First the membership had to consist of at least 51% travel agents. If a non travel agent was applying for membership that would change the mix to less than 51%, therefore that member was not approved until the percentage was met. In addition, no more than three members from the same company could become members. Prospective members had to attend three meetings before they would be accepted as members.
The first fifteen years of the organization were very prosperous. Most of the members were agency owners. Attendance was big, most meetings held between 150 and 200 members.
In 1982 the association started the SKI FAIR, one of the largest ski shows in the country. A committee was selected to organize the show. This became a large yearly event. The first few years it was held at the Omni Hotel on Biscayne Boulevard. The main ballroom was used to accommodate about 100 booths. There was an attendance of at least 1000 agents coming from all over South Florida. After hurricane Andrew hit South Florida, the show was downsized quite a bit and sadly it was cancelled a few years later.
The association has always taken pride on its annual installation of officers and new board members, and it has historically been a grand affair. During previous years this beautiful gala was held at major hotels and country clubs in South Florida, and everyone wore formal attire.
Our organization has had some fantastic fam trips throughout the years, starting with the first one in 1972 to Curacao and Happy Valley, and a fabulous trip to Peru in 1974. Other fam trips included Mexico City in 1980, Barbados in 1981, Panama in 1982, Santiago, Chile in 1982, Paris in 1984, Yugoslavia in 1985, Buenos Aires in 1986, London in 1990, Margarita Island in 1994, and a return visit to Peru in 1995. During recent years we have organized some great fams for our members, including Taiwan and The Philippines.
We would like to thank all our past presidents and board members who have volunteered their time and effort to make our organization what it is today. The Travel Industry Association of Florida is a well respected organization that continues to grow each year. Today, we are proud to say that our membership consists of about 170 active members, made up of different sectors of the South Florida travel industry community. We look forward to a bright future!