December 18, 2020
Alexandria, VA, December 16, 2020 – Zane Kerby, President & CEO of the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), releases the following statement in response to the formal introduction of the Bipartisan COVID-19 Emergency Relief Act of 2020, which is likely to be the basis of a year-end coronavirus relief package:
“ASTA supports the Bipartisan COVID-19 Emergency Relief Act of 2020, which includes several provisions we have been advocating for since April, including the ability for hard-hit companies to apply for an additional Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan; tax deductibility of PPP loan proceeds; and an extension of the CARES Act’s unemployment programs for independent contractors and furloughed agency employees through March 2021. We also commend Senators Collins and Manchin and other members of the bipartisan, bicameral group for their heroic efforts to break the months-long partisan impasse around COVID relief over the past few weeks.
“According to a member survey we conducted late in the summer, close to 95 percent of travel agencies’ revenue is down at least three-quarters year-over-year, 63 percent have laid off at least half of their pre-COVID W-2 employees, and 73 percent will be out of business within six months unless Congress provides additional, meaningful relief. The situation has only become more challenging since then, even though the prospect of widespread vaccine distribution provides some hope for 2021.
“The bill sponsors designed this package as a three-month bill and recognize that more support for hard-hit businesses will be needed next year, a sentiment we welcome given the catastrophic impact of COVID-19 on our part of the travel industry and the long-anticipated recovery timeline. While we support this bipartisan bill as meaningful progress, we believe that next year a more comprehensive package targeted at the travel industry and others like it hit hardest by COVID will be needed beyond this temporary bridge to March 2021.
“We call on Congress, the leadership of both parties in particular, to work out their differences on COVID relief and send a bill based on the Bipartisan COVID-19 Emergency Relief Act of 2020 to President Trump's desk as soon as possible.”
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.