ASTA and its Canadian counterpart, the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA), are urging the United States and Canada to reopen the borders for travel between neighboring countries.
“While it will take several years for our part of the travel industry to regain its health, combined with the additional relief funding that our legislatures urgently need, we believe the safe reopening of interstate travel – United and Canada will help accelerate the recovery and put travel agencies in a position to serve the traveling public, ”ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby said in a statement.
“We are ready to work with you and your staff to develop a plan to clearly spell out how and when we will resume travel between Canada and the United States,” he said, “with the goal of releasing it. before June 21, when the existing Canadian border measures are likely to be renewed.
Kerby and ACTA President Wendy Paradis this week sent a joint letter US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas as well as Canadian Transport Minister Omar Alghabra and Health Minister Patty Hajdu.
In the letter, they demand – on behalf of the 180,000 employees of travel agencies in both countries – that officials make restarting travel between the United States and Canada “an immediate priority.”
Largely due to government restrictions on travel, they wrote, the average travel agency fell 82% in the United States and 95% in Canada last year. They also said the time lag between when agents book their travel and when they get paid was an additional hurdle agents face in their recovery.
“Although obtaining additional financial relief for our members from our respective governments remains the top priority of both associations, the responsible reopening of travel between our two great countries is an essential and necessary step for a meaningful recovery. of the travel agency sector, ”they wrote. .