Katrinas victims are an unknown number of small businesses in the
region, including travel agencies, tour operators and local
attractions that have not been heard from, some of which may
In the wake of the
storm, ARC activated a toll-free hot line -- (800) 723-2721 -- for
affected agencies along the Gulf Coast, but initially it only heard
from agencies on the periphery of the devastation.
estimate that about 240 agency locations in Alabama, Florida,
Louisiana and Mississippi were adversely affected, an estimate
based on the agencies geographic locations and the fact that they
had not signed off on their sales reports by the Tuesday midnight
ARC said it will
work with agencies for filing extensions and even relocation
applications, with fees waived.
ASTA, taking the
role of facilitator, is asking agencies needing assistance, and
those offering aid, to contact the organization at [email protected] or by calling (800) ASK-ASTA.
The Society asked those with requests to be as specific as possible
and to provide contact information.
The Society will
send regular alerts to members detailing the requests; similarly,
the requests will be posted on its Web site. ASTA also is posting
regular updates on its Web site reporting how airlines, cruise
lines, tour operators and other industry segments are
trade group urged every travel seller and travel company to donate
generously, remembering that they all have benefited from tourism
to the Gulf Coast and especially to New Orleans.
visit the About ASTA section of the Web site to donate via the Red
Travel reported that by the end of day Wednesday, it had heard from
10 of its 11 franchise locations in affected areas. At least two of
those locations in the hardest-hit areas are closed indefinitely,
and several more owners said their offices had been
As many as 10 of
Carlsons Results Travel franchisee locations are presumed damaged.
At least one owner is forwarding calls to her home. A franchisee in
Florida has offered the use of her office space to any needy
On the corporate
travel side, one Carlson on-site location is under water in New
Orleans, said Craig Thompson, vice president, government markets.
He said a staffer from that site reached safety in Houston. Calls
to two other Louisiana locations were being rerouted to other
National Tour Association president Hank Phillips
said, For us, this goes way deeper than just business. We know
these people well on a personal basis. He added that the
associations most valuable service is assuring people that their
friends are OK.
We are telling
members to use our forums to send personal messages, to communicate
their feelings ... and we are using this for members to tell us
they are safe. ... We will post those reports on the site, he
He said NTA was
ahead of its members ability to communicate in many cases, but it
is prepared to post updated business information for any member
To contact the
reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Nadine Godwin at [email protected].