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Congress Reaches Agreement on Massive Coronavirus Relief Package
Travel Advisors Will Have Access to $25 Billion Airline Assistance Funds, Multiple Other Options for Relief Under Bill
Today, Congressional leadership and the Trump Administration came to agreement and released the text of a massive $2 trillion coronavirus relief package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. While it is expected to pass both chambers of Congress and be signed into law by President Trump in the coming days, it is possible that additional changes might be made before then.
Over the past few weeks, we have worked hand-in-hand with our 13,000 members to secure the maximum amount of relief for the travel agency community in this package. Thank you to our members who sent more than 28,000 grassroots messages to legislators through ASTA.org. We are thrilled that travel agencies are included in the airline assistance portion of the bill -- it is a huge win because it means that Congress heeded our call to include our members in the targeted relief for the travel industry. Our efforts made a significant difference in the size and scope of relief options in the bill.
Among the provisions of the CARES Act that will provide relief to the travel agency industry, its employees and independent contractors (ICs) are:
In the coming days, ASTA will be analyzing the entirety of the relief package for provisions impacting its members, and will explore key questions such as how the new SBA loan program interacts with the Administration's existing Disaster Relief programs. ASTA will also monitor closely SBA and Treasury/Transportation Department announcements with regard to how they plan to distribute this relief.
In the meantime, members are encouraged to stay tuned to ASTA.org and subscribe to ASTA's Travel Advisor Daily newsletter for the latest information. Finally, given the scale of the crisis, ASTA expects Congress will consider additional relief legislation in the coming weeks and months and if so we will be heavily engaged to secure members access to further relief.
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As you know, our industry is in peril. While many of us have worked through any number of challenges throughout our time, from 9/11 to commission cuts to Y2k, nothing compares to this.
Today, and with support from ASTA, our industry is launching a “Call-Your-Legislator” campaign to preserve our side of the industry. Our goal is to promote our visibility within the government, advocate for relief for all sectors within our industry, and ensure that we have a seat at the table.
For our US campaign our target is 5,000 – 7,000 touch points (emails and phone calls combined). This is being done in combination with a social media program to launch tonight and over the weekend for the same effect, all targeting markets for key legislators.
Right now Congress is in reconciliation for the massive economic stimulus package. If we are going to have any impact, there is no more time to act. You must start now. We expect by Monday evening or Tuesday at the latest the bill will exit reconciliation and Congress will head home.
I ask to lend your hand and make some calls and send some emails to help protect our industry.
Attached are talking points and email phone scripts that can be used, as well as a copy of the ASTA Relief Request for $7.7Bilion in Grants as well as $7Billion in loans. You can go to the ASTA page here to make the process easier.
The travel industry requires travel agents to operate efficiently and effectively. Each of us has seen the concern and fear by all travelers, yet during this extraordinary time our clients time and again sing all of our praises. This is no accident; time and again you make the impossible happen.
We are all on this together, and together we will succeed,
SoCAL ASTA Chapter President
March 13, 2020
Dear Colleagues in Travel,
In light of the growing concerns, imposed corporate and governmental restrictions on travel and assembly, our SoCal ASTA board of directors has made the necessary decision to postpone The Diamond Awards until later this year.
We look forward to honoring esteemed members in our industry and sharing our mutual success in the not-too-distant future. Rest assured, we will announce the new date with great pleasure and with anticipation that you’ll join us for what will be a much-deserved celebration!
To our sponsors who have already committed, we will gladly move your reservations to our new date.
Stay well and wishing you all the best during these challenging times,
Tama Willetta Holve
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