The travel industry’s trade associations are coming together to speak in one voice.
The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) and the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA) has joined forces with three other trade associations to call on government leaders to “align and makes safely restarting international travel occur by opening borders an immediate priority.”
ASTA and ACTA, along with the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), the European Travel Agents and Tour Operation Associations (ECTAA), and the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), on Friday released their joint letter highlighting the push for an opening and standardization of vaccine entry requirements worldwide.
“For well over a year, inconsistent government orders in a wide range of countries intended to slow the spread of COVID-19 have created confusion and uncertainty among travelers, a chilling effect on future bookings and innumerable other challenges for our associations’ travel agency members and partners,” the letter reads.
Collectively, the group represents hundreds of thousands of people who make their livelihood at travel agencies and other related businesses around the world. That population has been more financially impacted by the pandemic than maybe any other group.
Earlier this week, representatives for those trade associations spoke about the financial impact of the pandemic, with some, including ACTA, saying that member revenue remains down 90% down compared to 2019.
The group wrote that things like “inconsistent government orders in a wide range of countries intended to slow the spread of COVID-19 have created confusion and uncertainty among travelers, a chilling effect on future bookings and innumerable other challenges for our associations’ travel agency members and partners,” citing the EU’s non-essential travel recommendations as an example.
“With continued uncertainty on the horizon, this sort of news makes those wanting to travel less likely to do so. This has an economic impact on both the global destinations that are reliant on travelers, as well as the employee and small businesses in the travel industry that are reliant on a functioning global travel system to support their customers. The impact on the global economy is massive."
The letter this week seeks to push governments to help return revenue to the travel industry and allow it to support itself by doing three things:
- Expeditiously developing clear vaccine and testing standards.
- Loosening entry restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers.
- Providing the needed economic relief to the travel agency sector suffering for too long the bitter consequences of travel’s hard-stop brought on by the pandemic.
“The value of and need for travel advisors and agents in today’s world given the intense complexity of travel is vital now more than ever as consumers around the world attempt to recover from this pandemic with certainty and confidence.”