The industry continues to lobby in support of the Securing Access for Venue Equity (Save) Act, and agents are encouraged to contact their legislators and sign a petition urging lawmakers to act.
The Save Act, a bill that has garnered bipartisan support in Congress, would include travel agencies in the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program. That could provide eligible agencies with up to $10 million in grants based on their 2019 revenue.
Eben Peck, ASTA's executive vice president of advocacy, said the Save Act and securing additional relief money for members has been ASTA's top priority this year. The Society has held more than 250 Congressional meetings about it so far, including 170 that took place during ASTA's annual Capitol Hill fly-in, Legislative Day. Almost 2,500 messages have been sent via the Society's grassroots portal.
"As a result, at least 13 of the 21 co-sponsorships in the House are directly connected to an ASTA meeting or communication from a member constituent," Peck said on Monday. "While we are seeing progress and are seeking a sponsor for a Senate version of the bill, we have a long way to go.
"We call on every member of the trade to contact their House member today through our portal and to become an ASTA member if they are not already," he added. "On our end, as we've said from the beginning of this crisis, we will continue to fight day-in, day-out to protect our members' businesses until the travel agency sector is restored to health."
Signature Travel Network is also encouraging members to contact legislators via ASTA's portal as well as sign a petition on Change.org that encourages lawmakers to sign on to the Save Act.
In a posting on Signature's member pages on Facebook, CEO Alex Sharpe said, "While we are all glad that business is ramping up at a great pace, we also know that you will not see revenue for nine-plus months."
That calls for additional relief, he said, calling it "incomprehensible" that agencies weren't included in the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program in the first place.
"Adding agencies to this program would be logical and complement the Congressional intent of this relief program," he said.