ASTA is calling on Congress to return to Washington and resume talks for a federal relief package to help struggling small businesses, including travel agencies, through the coronavirus crisis.
, the Society's president and CEO, Zane Kerby, described a "disturbing development" in Washington: Despite failing to reach an agreement on a new federal aid package, Congress has left for its August break.
新沙巴体育"With our industry and many others in crisis, it's imperative that lawmakers be rerouted with a one-way ticket back to Washington, D.C., and they need to stay here until the deal is made," Kerby said. "It is unacceptable for Congress to pack up and go home when millions of Americans and small businesses are on the brink of collapse."
In April, relief in the form of the Cares Act was passed in less than 30 days, Kerby said. That was a lifeline for ASTA members; nearly 80% applied for and received funding.
But that funding only lasts so long. Citing a recent ASTA survey, Kerby said that without additional support, 73% of agencies will be out of business within six months.
Transmission and death rates related to coronavirus have not improved, and testing remains slow and unevenly distributed, Kerby said. International travel is effectively grounded, a No Sail order remains in place for cruise lines and closure orders inside the U.S. and in the Caribbean are ever-changing. It will take time for travel to resume.
"Against this backdrop, our alleged leaders decided to leave Washington, D.C., for their August summer recess, despite having reached no agreement," Kerby said.
新沙巴体育Kerby encouraged the industry to use to get in touch with lawmakers and implore them to return to Washington and craft new relief legislation to help small businesses.
"If they can't find their way, I know about 15,000 travel advisors who can help them book a one-way ticket back here to D.C.," he said.