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The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) commended lawmakers for including travel agencies among the eligible businesses in a significant bipartisan COVID-19 bill — the Securing Access for Venue Equity (SAVE) Act — which provides hard-hit businesses with much-needed financial relief via a grant program created by the Continuing Appropriations Act of 2021.
The inclusion was one of several priorities ASTA was pushing for after President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill was signed into law on March 11.
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The bill, introduced this week, will provide financial support that is “sorely needed, as the travel agency sector has been catastrophically impacted and faces a longer recovery window than virtually any other industry,” according to a statement from Zane Kerby, president and CEO of ASTA.
Introduced in the House of Representatives on March 23, the legislation would make travel agencies eligible for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, which includes more than $16 billion in grant money allotted for venues that have shuttered due to the coronavirus. The grants will be managed by the Small Business Administration’s Office of Disaster Assistance.
“As we have said time and again, when government action has a disproportionally negative impact on a specific industry, it is a matter of fundamental fairness that the government provide targeted relief to the businesses most severely affected,” Kerby said. “With this principle as our North Star, we will keep fighting for relief until the travel agency sector is restored to health.”
When government action has a disproportionally negative impact on a specific industry, it is a matter of fundamental fairness that the government provide targeted relief to the businesses most severely affected.
Qualified travel agencies may receive grants in the amount of 45% of their gross earned revenue from 2019, with the maximum available amount capping at $10 million.
The legislation was introduced by Mark Amodei (R-Nev.), Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) and Dina Titus (D-Nev.).
RELATED: 65% of All U.S. Jobs Lost in 2020 Were From the Travel Industry
“We commend Reps. Amodei, Crist, Pascrell and Titus for their leadership and for recognizing that the job of COVID-19 relief is not done,” Kerby said. “Through no fault of their own, the women and men in our membership are at risk of losing their livelihood and desperately need additional support. We call on every member of the House of Representatives to cosponsor this bipartisan bill and stand ready to do everything in our power to see it through to enactment.”
More details about the grant program can be found on www.sba.gov.
ASTA is encouraging travel advisors to take action by calling their House Representatives and asking them to co-sponsor the SAVE Act. Phone calls are preferred over email.Find your representative's contact information on ASTA's advocacy portal.
The DetailsAmerican Society of Travel Advisorswww.asta.org