ASTA Legislative Day 2022 (photo courtesy Jason Dixson Photography/ASTA)
Travel agency executives and industry advocates came together on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. for the American Society (ASTA) of Travel Advisors’ annual Legislative Day 2022.
The day is much more than meeting with legislators. ASTA members heading to the Hill receive special training on critical issues facing the corporate and leisure travel economy.
During Legislative Day, attending members are present for nearly 200 meetings with members of Congress and staff, the vast majority of them in-person.
“When it comes to the government, you face a choice – engage in the process or put your head in the sand, leave the field to the opposition and hope for the best. Starting well before COVID hit, ASTA and our members have engaged tirelessly, both in D.C. and in the states, and we have a series of wins to show for it, most notably the Biden administration’s recent decision to rescind the inbound testing rule for international travel,” said Zane Kerby, ASTA President & CEO. “By showing Congress who we are, who we employ and that we are paying attention, the government will understand that travel advisors advocate for the traveling public. Legislative Day is the most important part of that engagement.”
This year’s legislative priorities included: the Employee Retention Tax Credit Reinstatement Act (H.R. 6161/S. 3625) to retroactively restore the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), which was terminated ahead of schedule to pay for unrelated infrastructure spending in November 2021; and the Visit America Act (H.R. 6965/S. 3375) to establish an Assistant Secretary of Travel and Tourism within the U.S. Department of Commerce and direct the Department to develop and implement a COVID–19 public health emergency recovery strategy to assist the U.S. travel and tourism industry to quickly recover from the pandemic.
“Policymaking is a marathon, not a sprint,” said Eben Peck, ASTA’s Executive Vice President of Advocacy. “Our goal yesterday was to raise awareness about our industry and how COVID restrictions have impacted us, and secure support from legislators for policies that will help our members’ businesses recover. Legislative Day is the most impactful thing our members can do to help make that happen.”
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