Allen Abbott, Ph.D., has been named executive director of the Faith Travel Association. He leaves his post as executive director of the American Red Cross in Columbus, Ga., to begin his FTA duties on March 24.
“We’re thrilled about Allen joining the team and leading FTA,” said Karla DiNardo, president of NTA Services, which oversees FTA. “Allen brings a wealth of experience to FTA from his work within the religious and association communities, and we consider Allen’s experience a huge asset to FTA.”
Abbott, an ordained minister, has worked in fundraising, financial planning, telecommunications and nonprofit leadership. As a child of missionaries, he understands the value of faith-based travel.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to work with FTA—an incredible, new organization that pairs two of my great passions, faith and travel,” Abbott said. “There’s a spiritual transformation that comes with pilgrimages, tours and mission trips. Through travel, people of faith can take their belief beyond borders.”
Following a January launch and an industry introduction at Travel Exchange in Los Angeles last month, FTA looks to become the leading business network for travel professionals and organizations focused on faith-based travel, according to Malia Asfour, director of the Jordan Tourism Board North America and an FTA board member.
“FTA is a great resource for anyone looking to do business in the faith-based travel market,” Asfour said. “The association’s market focus and global reach give faith-based travel buyers, suppliers and destinations a home in the industry.”
Beyond pilgrimages, faith-based travel encompasses events, cruises, adventures and volunteer trips to destinations and attractions that hold significance to people of various faiths.