Peggy Bendel, former senior VP of Development Counsellors International and chair of the 603-member Travel & Tourism section of PR Society of America, has urged the national PRSA board to eliminate the APR requirement for board/officer service.

Bendel, now a senior counselor at DCI who heads Bendel Communications, in 2006 was given the “Lifetime Achievement in Travel PR Award” by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Assn. International.

She said in a Society e-group posting that it is “patently unfair” of national to block service by non-APRs.

Only 8.5% of the members of the Travel Section are APR, she said, noting that the percentage is far below the nearly 20% average of APRs for the entire Society.

The Travel section is one of the biggest in the Society, exceeded only by Technology, Health and Corporate.

Said Bendel: “91.5% of our members are not eligible to offer themselves to be considered for service on the national board.”

Bendel polled other Travel board members on the APR issue. Nine responded, including one APR. The eight non-APRs said they had no intention of pursuing APR. All said they feel that non-APRs should be on the national board.

Although not APR, Travel board members serve diligently for four years, she said, including researching/documenting “best practices”; taking part in monthly conference calls; attending an annual conference and an annual board retreat; producing an e-newsletter (a new project), and managing 1-2 annual teleseminars.

“After that period of intense involvement and commitment to the Society and the Section, there is nowhere else for them to be of service to the Society,” she said.

Speaking for herself and not for the board, she said “It seems patently unfair that their many years of experience, often marked with a variety of personal and professional accolades, is not sufficient for them to be considered. We urge the national board to eliminate the APR requirement.”

Said Bendel: “A non-APR is a terrible thing (talent) to waste.”