Get Us in Your Inbox
According to a recent survey of more than 300 travel advisors (part of TravelAge West’s Need to Know research series), most agents are voting for Joe Biden for president, and they believe that whoever wins the upcoming election will need to make the economy a top consideration — especially when it comes to revitalizing the hard-hit travel industry.
Forty-six percent of advisors indicate they are voting for Joe Biden, compared to 39% for Donald Trump. Twelve percent are still undecided.
When asked how important economic recovery is in making their choice, one-third (33%) say it is the most important issue, and another 57% feel it is very important. In addition, nearly all advisors (95%) feel that the government should do more to help the overall economic recovery in the future, and nearly the same number (94%) feel that government assistance is needed to help the travel industry — and advisors in particular.
“It is clear that the actions taken by governments here and abroad in response to COVID-19 have played a key role in bringing the travel industry to its knees, including State Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance against travel of any kind, a ‘No Sail Order’ effectively halting cruise ship travel, the European Union banning inbound American travelers and complex, ever-changing state quarantine requirements for domestic and international travelers,” said Eben Peck, executive vice president of advocacy for the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA). “While public health is paramount in addressing this crisis, governments must not ignore the catastrophic economic consequences of the steps they have taken and have a responsibility to provide support to those harmed by these actions.”
In general, advisors are not especially impressed by the response of the government help they have received — or have not received — this year. Eighty-two percent of respondents give the government a grade of C or less when it comes to how it has helped the travel industry so far. In comparison, 90% give travel industry companies and organizations a grade of C or better when it comes to lobbying the government this year — including 27% that give the industry an A grade.
“The fact that the federal government has provided no support to the travel industry — or any other — since March is unacceptable,” Peck said. “That’s why, on our own and as part of multiple coalitions, ASTA continues to work all day, every day, to get as much relief for as many of our members as possible and to push back against the No Sail Order, draconian quarantines and other rules inhibiting the travel recovery.”
As important as government action is to respondents, the majority of advisors (52%) have not personally participated in any lobbying on behalf of the travel industry this year (including attending meetings, writing letters or calling legislators).
However, several agents have joined the fight, according to ASTA's Peck.
“This work has included close to 70,000 advocacy emails to Congress and more than 130 meetings, calls and Zooms with members of Congress and their staff, often with ASTA member constituents joining,” Peck said. “While more than 80% of our members were able to secure CARES Act relief funding, those programs have long since run dry, and much more needs to be done to support the industry through this crisis and put travel agencies in a position to serve clients once brighter days arrive.”
One issue that advisors are split on is whether CDC has been unfair to the cruise industry. Just over half of respondents (51%) feel the cruise industry has been unfairly singled out by CDC, while 49% disagree.
“Need to Know” is a research series from TravelAge West that tracks the responses of advisors as they relate to various travel trends and topics. This survey recorded the responses of 322 advisors across the U.S. Click here to see more Need to Know stories.