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Institutional Strategy Development

The Association of Cyprus Travel Agents (ACTA) is the sectoral association representing the travel agencies and tour operations in the Republic of Cyprus.

Based in Nicosia, ACTA has 5 staff members and handles a range of tasks, including:

  • Representation of Cyprus in international organisations such as ECTAA and UFTAA
  • Representation of travel agents in national organisations such as Parliament, the Cyprus Tourism Organisation and similar entities
  • Review and consultation of all laws which impact the travel sector
  • Market observation and dissemination of sectoral trends and developments to members
  • Collection of travel agency & tour operators insurance guarantees in line with the EU Package Tour Directive
  • Development of training and educational events

Tourism accounted for 22% of Cyprus' GDP in 2000. A total of 2.3 million foreign tourists visited the island, and a total of 590,000 domestic outbound flights by Cypriots added to the tourism product. Together with foreign tour operators. airlines and hotel groups, travel agents comprise the most important distribution channel for incoming and outbound tourism in Cyprus. 

The profession of the travel agent is coming under increasing pressure as a result of new technologies (Internet bookings) and the entrance of new intermediaries into the travel industry. As a result, the travel industry is increasingly resembling a commodities market, where the only chances for survival are leveraging agency size to develop economies of scale, or specialising in market niches. 

NAVIGATOR's assignment was to craft a new institutional strategy for ACTA that would guide its activities for the next 5 years. The major components of this strategy included:

  • Continuation / expansion of revenue-generation;
  • Development of institutional independence;
  • Staff training and development;
  • Information systems development and implementation;
  • Development of an ACTA brand for the sector;
  • Expansion of services to members;
  • Knowledge leadership of the tourism sector.

A major aspect of this project was positioning and preparing ACTA members for EU accession, and the changes that harmonisation of national law with the Acquis Communautaire would bring. 

We implemented a comprehensive review of current activities, the operating budget, sources of finance, staff work organisation and time management, information technology and similar aspects of operations. In addition, we:

  • Interviewed ACTA "customers" — including 5 travel agencies and tour operators
  • Benchmarked ACTA's activities against other sectoral associations and institutions in Cyprus, including the Cyprus Tourism Organisation
  • Benchmarked ACTA to other national tourism associations, and primarily the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), which is considered an EU model of development
  • Modelled the impact of EU Accession on organisational and institutional resources
  • Analysed future revenue-generating activities
  • Development of training and educational events

We co-operated with ACTA staff at all stages of the process, and presented results to the ACTA Board of Directors as well as to a plenary session for all ACTA members.

The results of the project were:

  • The development of a comprehensive institutional strategy, phased to take into account changes prior to EU accession and following EU accession
  • The development of specific recommendations for change for travel agencies as enterprises
  • An implementation plan

Two years later, ACTA has made major progress towards implementation, meeting and exceeding the financial targets established in the Plan.