Giving Aid: Katrina's Aftermath

The travel industry reaches out to the victims of Hurricane Katrina

By: Janeen Christoff

The travel industry has reached out wholeheartedly to support the victims of hurricane Katrina. Many associations are reaching out to their members in the hurricane-ravaged region, helping them get back on their feet with donations, job sites and Web resources. Most importantly, associations want to hear from their members affected by the hurricane.

The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) is asking that all members in the affected area call to update the organization on their status and the status of their agency. Members can call 800-ASK-ASTA or e-mail

ASTA will help organizations find resources to aid them in the recovery process. Several volunteers are willing to help members in need. For more information go to

National Tour Association (NTA) is asking for similar updates from its members. Businesses affected by the hurricane are advised to contact NTA with their new information. The information will be posted to NTA Online to keep members up to date.

“While we are concerned about the hurricane’s impact on business, we also are focused on the personal side of the situation,” said Hank Philips, president of NTA. “That includes determining the location and status of people facilitating communication, and offering personal support in any way we can.”

NTA is posting regular updates to their Web site and offering an online forum where members can post thoughts or read updates about the situation on the Gulf Coast.

The Travel Industry Association (TIA), along with Travel & Tourism Coaliltion and the Travel Business Roundtable, is offering victims use of an online job database,, to help workers displaced by the hurricane.

On the West Coast, South Bay Women in Travel (SBWIT) is reaching out to help their sister club Mid-South Women in Travel whose members come primarily from the New Orleans area. At this time, they are trying to locate members and set up a way for donations to go directly to those in need.

“We are trying to keep all of our members informed as to what’s going on,” said Beverley Auerbach, vice president of A Marketing Perspective and a member of South Bay Women in Travel. “We want to try and help our industry in a concrete way.”

Many other organizations, corporations and independent agencies are also offering assistance and donations. For a complete list of how the tourism industry is aiding disaster relief, go to


American Red Cross