September 5, 2019
Travel Advisor Exemption Secured in California Independent Contractor Bill
Alexandria, VA, September 5, 2019 – The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) celebrated the good news over the weekend – the latest version of California Assembly Bill (AB) 5, made public on Saturday, includes an exemption for travel advisors. As previously written, AB 5 threatened the business model of travel agencies in California that rely on independent contractors (ICs) to sell travel.
“This was by far this biggest legislative challenge we have faced in recent memory,” said Zane Kerby, ASTA President & CEO. “We are enormously grateful for this result, and commend Assemblywoman Gonzalez for listening to our concerns and amending AB 5 accordingly. We are proud of the work put in by ASTA and its members in close coordination with CCTO, PATH, our consortia and franchise partners, ASTA Proud Partner suppliers and others, which protects the IC model in our industry to the benefit of agency owners, ICs and their clients alike.”
The new amendment would add travel agency services regulated by California's Seller of Travel law to the list of "Professional Services" exempt from AB 5's impacts. To be covered under the pre-Dynamex standard, the IC must be in compliance with the California Seller of Travel law, either by registering with the state or qualifying for the exemption from the registration requirement. ASTA will be watching closely and engaging wherever necessary, but getting to this point is a significant accomplishment for ASTA and its travel advisor members across the country.
This win was brought about through an unprecedented grassroots campaign, with many different players contributing. ASTA would like to especially thank the California Coalition of Travel Organizations (CCTO), the Professional Association of Travel Hosts (PATH), the board members ASTA shares with CCTO (Betsy Geiser of Uniglobe Travel Center, Brian Chapin of Ensemble Travel Group and Patty Thorington of Plaza Travel), the more than 230 people who participated in joint ASTA-CCTO “Days of Action” on August 6 and 28, the 2,753 Californians who contacted their state senators through ASTA’s grassroots portal over the past few months, as well as travel advisors across the country who invest in ASTA through their member dues.
Rebranded in 2018 as the American Society of Travel Advisors, ASTA is the leading global advocate for travel advisors, the travel industry and the traveling public. Its members represent 80 percent of all travel sold in the United States through the travel agency distribution channel. Together with hundreds of internationally-based members, ASTA’s history of industry advocacy traces back to its founding in 1931 when it launched with the mission to facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism. For more information about the Society, visit ASTA.org. Consumers can connect with an ASTA travel advisor at TravelSense.org.