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American Society of Travel Advisors
Move aims to streamline oversight, enhance travel policy, and better prepare for future crises

After nearly two years of advocacy efforts, the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) commends Congress for funding the newly created office of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Travel and Tourism. In a larger appropriations bill for fiscal year 2024 funding, Congress included $3.5 million to implement the Visit America Act, which Congress approved at the end of 2022.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the scattered nature of government oversight and authority of the U.S. travel and tourism industry,” said Zane Kerby, ASTA President & CEO. Contending with various agencies and ever-changing rules while struggling to keep their businesses alive put unnecessary and avoidable hardships on travel advisors during an already stressful time. For this reason, ASTA members took to Capitol Hill in June 2023 to advocate for this position to better prepare for the next catastrophe and elevate travel policy moving forward.”

The United States is the only G20 country that does not have an agency or official in charge of travel and tourism policy. This funding will create a high-level leadership position within the federal government focused on travel industry concerns and would protect the industry from unnecessary setbacks due to conflicting and confusing policy decisions in the future. ASTA urges President Biden to swiftly nominate a qualified appointee for the position.

By way of background, on September 29, 2022, the House of Representatives passed the Visit America Act (H.R. 6965), introduced by Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV). The Senate version of the bill (S. 1947) was introduced by Sen. Sullivan (R-AK). In addition to the bill sponsors, ASTA further appreciates the efforts of Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) for advancing the legislation in the appropriations process. 

Mar 15, 2024

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