As the holidays approach it gives me time to reflect on all my blessings, not the least of which is working in the travel industry.
The travel industry helps bring peace and understanding throughout the world. It is one of the largest in the world and one that is exciting, eventful, and filled with wonderful people who care about each other and about the world we live in. It is truly unique.
The year’s end also gives me time to reflect on the travel advisors that we at TMR serve. It has been a year filled with much change for you and a year of findings, reflection, and learning. Together we found the faith and hope to carry on and we did it as a community.
One minute you were all wondering when business would return and questioned survivability, and the next you were inundated with thousands of customers contacting you, looking for your help and expertise. They learned something that we have all long known—that the only way to book travel is through an advisor!
It is also a time to reflect on our blessings and gifts, including those of our associations, not the least of which is the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA). Without ASTA, many of you would not have survived.
Changing government regulations is too big a task for any one travel advisor or company. That’s why, for over 90 years, ASTA has stood at the vanguard of defending the travel advisor industry. This is what they do. From new taxes on travel services, onerous reporting requirements, or even travel-inhibiting regulations, ASTA is always on the lookout for legislative and regulatory threats that could negatively impact your business and your clients.
In 2019, ASTA linked arms with advocates from the California Coalition of Travel Organizations, the Professional Association of Travel Hosts, local chapters, consortia, and host agency members to fight for the independent contractor business model in California. It was an unprecedented effort with over 2,800 grassroots engagements to California lawmakers through ASTA’s advocacy portal, and over 4,500 letters to local news editors. These efforts resulted in a historic victory, saving travel agencies in California at least $25 million collectively, per year.
Together, ASTA helped us take on the CDC to get the No Sail Order rescinded so that the cruise industry could get restarted. And today, cruisers are back on the high seas. ASTA’s leadership also helped us persuade Congress to restart the Alaska cruise season by suspending the PVSA. And most recently, ASTA successfully petitioned the Administration to rescind the inbound Covid testing requirement. More than 4,000 of you sent grassroot letters to Congress using the ASTA advocacy toolkit, more than 7,000 of you wrote letters to the editor, and hundreds of Congressional meetings were held. ASTA helped us win that battle too.
Yet with all ASTA does for travel advisors, more than two-thirds of you reading this do not yet belong to our association. Why, may I ask, is that? We all know it takes everyone in the community to succeed and we need YOU to be part of our community.
So, my wish this year is that every travel advisor will join your association so that we can build a community for all advisors and so that these organizations can continue to grow and be there to help you not only survive but thrive and prosper in this fabulous industry we call home!
So please, before you finish buying gifts for your friends, family, and customers, please gift yourself with a membership in ASTA. To help you do so ASTA is offering a $50 discount on membership through the rest of the year with the promo code TMRGIFT50. Advisors can find out more on the ASTA website.
Can you make my wish come true?
I promise you that if you do, you will receive gifts far beyond your investment and that you can look forward to 2023 with renewed hope, faith, and community!
With much gratitude,
Anne Marie Moebes, Publisher, TMR