April 21, 2020
Alexandria, VA, April 21, 2020 – Zane Kerby, President & CEO of the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), releases the following statement in response to the announced agreement on the next round of federal coronavirus relief legislation. The package, which adds $310 billion to the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program and $50 billion for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, is expected to pass Congress this week.
“ASTA commends Congressional leadership and the Trump Administration for their quick action to replenish the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program and increase funding for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. While these programs are far from perfect, they have provided financial relief to some of our members, and the additional funding will mean more relief for more travel agencies. The need for increased funding is particularly acute, as member survey data show a large number of ASTA members have thus far been unable to access relief under either program, which we view as unacceptable.
“Our laser-focus in the coming weeks and months will be securing the maximum amount of financial relief for the greatest number of our members, so they can survive the immediate crisis and be prepared for an eventual recovery. We will also support any and all measures to renew consumer confidence in the U.S. economy and in the travel industry in particular, such as widespread, consistent and quick coronavirus testing and work toward an eventual vaccine. Doing so will help instill consumer confidence and get America’s economy, and its intrepid travelers, moving again.”
Between April 17 and April 20, ASTA surveyed its membership on their experiences with the various relief programs in the CARES Act. According to the nearly 700 respondents:
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.