In the 1960s at the dawn of mass tourism, a few tourism professionals with great foresight saw the need of a global umbrella organisation for the travel agency industry. By merger of Fédération internationale des agences de voyages (FIAV) and Universal Organization of Travel Agents' Associations (UOTAA), the Universal Federation of Travel Agents ‘Associations (UFTAA) was formed on November 22nd 1966 in Rome. Its first President was an Italian, Giuliano Magnoni, later followed by 24 leading personalities from all parts of the world. The federation was later renamed United Federation of Travel Agents´ Associations, still known under the same well-established acronym UFTAA.
As a globally recognized body UFTAA is the longest established negotiating partner with the leading travel and tourism organisations in the world. Of a special importance is the close co-operation with IATA, representing the interest of individual travel agents and as a partner in the IATA-UFTAA Training Programme. Two other organisations with close relationship are the International Hotel and Restaurant Association (IH&RA) and the International Road Union (IRU). Also in areas which are more distanced from the daily worries of travel agents has UFTAA actively been and still is a spokes-person for the agent´s interest. Particularly worth mentioning are the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) through its Affiliate Member Programme and at various occasions the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNESCO, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), International Forum of Travel and Tourism Advocates (IFTTA) and many more. The high-level contacts have enable UFTAA to assist national associations in their contacts with authorities and also to help individual agencies.
Through its history UFTAA has been a faithful, active and neutral advocate for all associations and independent travel agencies, irrespective of size and location. In the competitive environment of today a neutral umbrella organisation like UFTAA is needed more than ever before to defend and promote the interests of travel agencies in their professional work on behalf and for the travelling consumers.
UFTAA gets ready to celebrate its 50 years of successful contribution to the Travel & Tourism Industry. UFTAA offers to its membership the valuable opportunity to be involved with UFTAA’s networking global platform in order to support good health of travel and tourism industry. UFTAA is represented globally and during 2016, UFTAA encourages associations; organizations; institutions and individual member agencies in Travel, Tourism and Hospitality industry to get connected via UFTAA. UFTAA’s Golden Jubilee Congress during the last quarter of 2016 with a rich content will inspire industry leaders to go connected, globally, in our fast evolving world.