ASTA Ramps Up Advocacy Efforts for COVID-19 Relief

The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) continues to advocate for relief for advisors as the U.S. government implements the CARES Act in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

The organization shared interim recommendations with members after the $2 trillion stimulus package was signed into law last month, including specific guidance for agencies with 500 or more employees and agencies with fewer than 500 employees as well as independent contractors.

ASTA also penned a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, offering assistance in the implementation of the CARES Act as it sets aside $25 billion in loans and loan guarantees for passenger air carriers; eligible businesses performing inspection, repair, replace, or overhaul services; and ticket agents. The latter is defined as “a person that as a principal or agent sells, offers for sale, negotiates for, or holds itself out as selling, providing, or arranging for air transportation.”

Additionally, the group is advocating for advisors with airlines, urging carriers to clarify ticket refund and exchange procedures for all travelers and advise customers who booked through an agency to contact their advisor to process refunds and exchanges. ASTA is also asking that all airline tickets be made fully refundable rather than simply credited for future travel, among other requests.

“For weeks, travel advisors have been working around the clock, getting clients home from far-flung places, rebooking postponed dream holidays, and assisting companies who are postponing and canceling meetings and events,” said Zane Kerby, ASTA President & CEO, in a statement. “This is what your trade association was built for, and ASTA is here to help you through this crisis. Our team of experts is working around the clock to get you to the front of the line for any and all relief options. We encourage you to plan now for the future success of your business, and our industry.”

Travel advisors can visit ASTA.org/COVID19member for specific information and resources regarding how to access relief under the CARES Act.

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