ASTA urges agents to tell their stories of struggle to the media

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Zane Kerby, ASTA president and CEO, speaks to members during ASTA Global Live on Tuesday.
Zane Kerby, ASTA president and CEO, speaks to members during ASTA Global Live on Tuesday.

ASTA is calling on travel advisors to work with local media in an effort to pressure lawmakers to pass additional coronavirus relief legislation.

During the opening session of the ASTA Global Live conference on Tuesday, the Society's president and CEO, Zane Kerby, said the industry remains without relief beyond the initial Cares Act passed in March.

"Now, it's clear that our industry needs additional relief," Kerby said. "Even with our unprecedented congressional pressure, talks on more Covid relief have stalled. We need to humanize Covid's impact by now telling our story to the media."

He encouraged travel advisors to reach out to their local television and radio stations and newspapers, "and tell them the effects that [the] government shutdown of travel is having on your business."

Congress had been expected to pass another round of coronavirus relief legislation beyond the Cares Act, but after Democrats and Republicans deadlocked on several key issues earlier this month, they walked away from the negotiating table.

Sample letters to the editor are available on ASTA's website, and attendees of the conference have access to a media training and education session on Wednesday from 6:30 to 7 p.m. Eastern time.

"We need to put a human face on the miserable situation we're in right now," Kerby wrote during a virtual chat after the conference's opening session.

In the same chat, Kerby said ASTA does believe more relief will come.

"We are perplexed that Congress left town without a deal," Kerby wrote in the chat. "I hope that members of Congress are being lambasted while they are at home in their districts."

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