Alexandria, VA, March 15, 2016 –The American Society of Travel agents (ASTA) presented Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus Co-Chairman Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) with the 2016 Global Travel Advocate Award last night at a reception in the U.S. Capitol Building to kick off ASTA's Third Annual Legislative Day.
"Through his leadership of the Travel and Tourism Caucus, Congressman Bilirakis has championed a number of issues important to travel agents and the broader travel and tourism industry, from expanding travel options for disabled veterans to reauthorizing Brand USA," said ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby. "Gus represents the great Sunshine State and one of America's top destinations for tourists. And as the son of a former travel agency owner, he understands how vital travel and tourism is to our economy. We're pleased to kick off our 2016 fly-in by recognizing those who fight for the issues important to ASTA and our members."
Upon accepting the award, Congressman Bilirakis said, "The travel industry is vital to our economy, supporting jobs in every community across the country. "Travel agents play a critical role in the broader industry's success by providing the information and expertise necessary to plan a trip for American families and businesses. I am grateful to receive this honor from ASTA and I will continue supporting the wonderful work they and their members do."
Today, approximately 60 ASTA members from every region of the country will meet face-to-face with their representatives in the U.S. House and Senate to discuss legislative priorities impacting travel, travel agents and agency owners. These will include issues such as ensuring transparent airfares and preventing unwarranted regulatory burdens on agents; opening travel for all Americans to Cuba; and ending discriminatory state taxes on rental cars.
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.