As a travel agency owner for the last 13 years, I can tell you that we have survived much. Commission cuts, 9/11, even a recession. I can honestly say we not only survived, we persevered. Clients rely on us for our knowledge and expertise. My agency actually made a profit each year.
This pandemic however has been one our agency may not be able to survive without your support. We are now in our seventh month of little to almost no business. With little open to travel to for so many months, and the fear the media has put into everyone, everyone is afraid to start the process of travel again. We started our loss earlier than most other business's as well. In February when the virus was first talked about, we started to have cancellations.
When a client cancels, we are not paid a commission by our tour operator suppliers. So, we have done the work, the research and put in all the time required to book our clients, only to receive nothing, or to have to give what we did receive. We are down 87% from over the last few years. We have had to lay off staff.
Of all of the "bailout's" the government has done in the past, I ask that it's time you work with travel agents. We are not a thing of the past, and my past tax records will prove this.
Every business in the country has been impacted by COVID-19 in one way or another. But few sectors have been as hard hit, or face a longer road to recovery, than the travel agency industry. According to the American Society of Travel Advisors, 64% of travel agencies in the U.S. have laid off at least half of their staff - even with the federal relief programs provided by the CARES Act in March. What's more, over 70% will go out of business within the next six months without additional federal relief.
My message to our elected officials on behalf of the 140,000 people who work at travel agencies across the country is simple - Get back to work and support the small businesses who desperately need your help. Doing nothing is not an option. The future of our country depends on it!
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