March 1, 2021

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Just Do Travel

ASTA asks for grants for travel advisors hit by Covid pandemic: Travel Weekly

2 min read

ASTA’s travel agent members are projected to lose more than $9 billion in revenue from the second through fourth quarters of 2021, prompting the Society to urge members to engage with their legislators as Congress begins to mull additional financial relief legislation.

That figure — $9.3 billion, to be exact — comes from a member survey of 1,500 advisors conducted Jan. 28 and 29. ASTA said the number was “conservative.”

As such, one of the three measures ASTA wants included in Congress’ next coronavirus relief package is a $9.3 billion travel agency grant program, similar to those created by the Continuing Appropriations Act of 2021 for other industries, including performing arts venues; movie theaters and museums; and motorcoach, passenger vessel and private school bus operators; according to the Society.

It is also asking Congress to add agencies to a provision that would enable them to receive a Paycheck Protection Program loan of three-and-a-half times their average monthly payroll, versus two-and-a-half times.

Finally, ASTA asks that Congress “support any and all efforts, including changing existing laws, to mitigate the impact of the Canadian government’s decision to extend a suspension of cruise operations in Canadian waters through February 2022 and to otherwise ensure the cruise industry in Alaska can resume operations as soon as possible.”

As Congress starts work on additional relief this week, ASTA said, members should get in touch with their legislators now using the Society’s grassroots portal. There is a “short window we have to affect the legislative process,” ASTA told members in an alert Monday.

Thus far in the pandemic, more than 25,000 members have used the portal to contact lawmakers on similar issues.

“Government action — here and abroad — has played a key role in this catastrophe,” ASTA said in its request for Covid relief from Congress. “We understand that our country is facing the worst public health crisis in history, and understand, as well, the rationale behind those government restrictions.

“That said, we believe the government has a responsibility to provide some level of support to those businesses harmed by its response to Covid-19,” ASTA continued. “Financial support for the travel industry has been uneven so far, especially with regard to less visible sectors of the industry like travel agencies.”