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Travel Advisor Priorities Included in Year-End Spending Bill

 

Alexandria, VA, December 20, 2022 – The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) Executive Vice President, Advocacy Eben Peck releases the following statement upon the unveiling of the Fiscal Year 2023 omnibus spending bill, which includes provisions of the Visit America Act/Omnibus Travel and Tourism Act (H.R. 6965/S. 3375), a policy priority of ASTA’s during its Legislative Day event in June.  

 “During the COVID-19 pandemic, travel advisors had a front-row seat to the scattered nature of federal oversight of the travel industry. Contending with numerous federal agencies and ever-changing, and sometimes conflicting, rules regarding travel while struggling to keep their businesses alive put unnecessary and avoidable hardships on travel advisors. Creating a high-level leadership position within the federal government focused on travel industry concerns, as this legislation does, would protect the industry from unnecessary setbacks due to conflicting and confusing policy decisions in the future."

“Specifically, the legislation establishes an Assistant Secretary of Travel and Tourism within the U.S. Department of Commerce to provide high-level leadership, accountable to Congress, working effectively across federal agencies to develop and implement national strategies and policies that grow travel. Surprisingly, the U.S. is the only G20 country without a federal agency or cabinet-level official in charge of tourism policy. The bill would also require Commerce to develop and implement a COVID–19 public health emergency recovery strategy to assist the U.S. travel and tourism industry to quickly recover from the pandemic."

“In June, more than 225 travel advisors and suppliers representing ASTA took to the halls of Congress to advocate on behalf of this legislation and share their personal stories of how government restrictions affected their businesses throughout the pandemic. Their hard work paid off, as the legislation tripled its cosponsors in the week following ASTA’s Legislative Day. Since that time, ASTA and its members have continued to push for inclusion in any year-end legislative vehicle."

“ASTA sincerely thanks Representatives Titus and Case, Senators Sullivan, Wicker and Rosen, and the House and Senate Commerce committees for their hard work in advancing this commonsense legislation. We further appreciate the support of the authorizers, appropriators, and House and Senate leadership for including the provisions of these bills in the FY23 omnibus. We hope it is quickly passed and signed into law by President Biden.” 

By way of background, on September 29, the House of Representatives passed the Visit America Act (H.R. 6965), introduced by Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV), to safeguard the travel industry should another pandemic occur. The Senate version, S. 1947, introduced by Sen. Sullivan (R-AK), was incorporated into Sen. Wicker’s (R-MS) Omnibus Travel and Tourism Act (S. 3375) which advanced out of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee in December 2021. 

 

 

 

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ABOUT ASTA
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 our mission statement.  

 

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