Travel agency executives and industry advocates gathered on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC for the American Society of Travel Advisors’ 2022 Annual Legislative Day.
The day is much more than a meeting with legislators. ASTA members traveling to the Hill receive special training on the critical issues facing the economics of business and leisure travel.
During Legislative Day, members in attendance are present for nearly 200 meetings with members of Congress and staff, the vast majority of them in person.
“When it comes to government, you have a choice: engage in the process or put your head in the sand, leave the field open to the opposition and hope for the best. Beginning long before COVID hit, ASTA and our members have been tirelessly engaged, both in DC and in the states, and we have a string of victories to show for it, including the Biden administration’s recent decision to cancel the inbound testing rule for international travel. said Zane Kerby, President and CEO of ASTA. “By showing Congress who we are, who we employ, and that we care, the government will understand that travel advisors represent the interests of the traveling public. The legislative day is the most important part of this commitment.
Legislative priorities this year included: the Employee Retention Tax Credit Restoration Act (HR 6161/S. 3625) to retroactively restore the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), which was phased out ahead of schedule to pay for unrelated infrastructure spending in November 2021; and the Visit America Act (HR 6965/S. 3375) to establish an Assistant Secretary for Travel and Tourism within the U.S. Department of Commerce and direct the department to develop and implement a disaster recovery strategy for public health COVID-19 to help US travelers. and the tourism industry to recover quickly from the pandemic.
“Policymaking is a marathon, not a sprint,” said Eben Peck, ASTA’s executive vice president of advocacy. “Yesterday, our goal was to raise awareness about our industry and the impact of COVID restrictions on us, and gain support from lawmakers for policies that will help our members’ businesses recover. Legislative Assembly Day is the most impactful thing our members can do to help make that happen.
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