In 1984, Darius Morgan of Crillon Tours, founding father of SATA (endearingly known as “Mama SATA”) had a vision to promote an international based organization located in South America. 

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He traveled to South America, visiting airlines, tour operators, and hotels, to raise the funds to develop this joint promotional effort. 

He succeeded by signing up approximately 140 members and raising over $70,000. After a short time, it became apparent to the senior executives, Darius Morgan along with Mariano Proano of Metropolitan Touring and Carlos Alberto Arrate of Lima Tours plus an agreement by the members of SATA that since those promoting travel to South America from the United States were to be their target market, the organization had to be based in the United States.

Between 1984 and 1987, a meeting was arranged to bring the industry leaders together and transition the SATA headquarters from South America to the United States. That decision lead to the opening of a SATA office in Miami. Michele Shelburne of Ladatco Tours was approached to become a part of their organizing team. 

United States based suppliers andretail travel agents were approached to join in this effort and supplier members’ sales collateral as well as educational information on South America weredistributed. The first thing on the agenda was to elect a Board of Directors and determine the purpose of

SATA to be clearly defined. The first board comprised of – Mr. Ricky Alvarez, AeroPeru Airlines (President); Mr. David Price, Price & Associates (Vice President); Ms. Merci Dessau, Varig Airlines (Recording Secretary) and Ms. Hermine Taramona, Tara Tours Inc (Treasurer). 

SATA’s purpose was to create an organization whose aim was to raise the level of awareness of South America as a vacation destination and educate travel agents on promoting travel to this region.

Since then, SATA has been actively educating professional travel agents in the United States through its members with regular tradeshows in key cities and familiarization trips. SATA is also well represented at trade events abroad and the media. In 1995, SATA is renamed as the “South & Central American Travel Association” and remains a strong and professional organization.

Past Presidents:

1987 Mr. Rick Alvarez – Aero Peru Airlines

1988 Mr. David Price – Price & Associates

1989 Mr. Bo McComas – World Mission Tours

1990 Ms. Merci Dessau – Varig Airlines

1991 Mr. Daniel Taramona – Tara Tours

1992 Mr. Eduardo Palacio – LAP (Lineas Aereas Paraguayas)

1993 Mr. Jaime Alvarez – Fourth Dimension Tours

1994 Mr. Ciro Correa – Lan Chile Airlines

1995 Mr. Diego Linares – Altura Tours

1996 Ms. Linda Cain – Sheraton Corporation

1997 Ms. Marisa Laurito – American Airlines

1998 Mr. Jorge Obradovich – VASP Airlines Brazil

1999 Ms. Hermine Taramona – Tara Tours

2000 Ms. Hermine Taramona – Tara Tours

2001 Ms. Annie Berk – Ladatco Tours

2002 Ms. Annie Berk – Ladatco Tours

2003 Mr. Daniel Taramona – Tara Tours

2004 Ms. Jawayne Keyser – Martinair Holland

2005 Mrs. Floriana Martinez – American Airlines