April 29, 2020
Now, more than ever, the value of booking with a travel advisor is clear. When things go wrong, we have your back. Given the current circumstance our industry now faces, and the overwhelming complexities of what travel may look like in a post COVID-19 world, we’re eagerly waiting for guidelines and action from our government. We know that travel will return, but it will come back in phases.
Wednesday, May 6, is National Travel Advisor Day. With this day approaching and as a proud member of the American Society of Travel Advisors, I want to share some information about the critical role that travel advisors play in the broader travel and tourism industry, as well as the challenges we are facing due to the coronavirus crisis.
The travel agency industry in the United States is a vital part of the travel and transportation infrastructure. While the physical elements of travel include planes, trains, cars, hotels, cruises and tours, it is the travel advisor who is the link.
Once the virus is unmistakably in retreat, hopefully soon, it seems likely that the traveling public won’t return to the nation’s skies and cruise ports until they have discretionary spending money securely in hand and feel safe. Unlike consuming most other products or services, the travel industry’s customers must show up in person.
I believe in the travel industry's long-term prospects. It is endemic to the human spirit to go and see. Regardless of how long this crisis lasts, Americans are unlikely to give up the life-enriching experiences that travel provides. In the same way that social distancing slows the infection rate, new government policies and procedures will be instrumental in speeding travel’s recovery. We call on the government to provide support to travel advisors during these challenging times and to utilize them as a valuable resource for helping the recovery of the travel industry.
The future of travel depends on two things: Making sure that travelers feel confident in the travel system and making sure they have the discretionary income to take those trips. To that end, we support the necessary measures to renew consumer confidence in the U.S. economy and the travel industry, 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.
I hope you'll consider sharing this information in future consumer interest columns.
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.