The Travel Recovery from Leading Industry Experts


WASHINGTON, May 12, 2021 /PRNewswire/ —

Who: The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) is the world’s leading association of travel agents (also referred to as advisors), representing 160,000 travel advisors across the country, 98 percent of which are small businesses.

What: The Society will kick-off their lobbying day with a press conference at the National Press Club where a powerhouse panel of travel CEOs will discuss the travel industry recovery, the challenges we face and the opportunity on the horizon.

  • Zane Kerby, President & CEO of the American Society of Travel Advisors
  • Jackie Friedman, President of Nexion Travel Group
  • Alex Sharpe, President & CEO of Signature Travel Network
  • Jennifer Wilson-Buttigieg, Co-President & Owner at Valerie Wilson Travel
  • Matthew D. Upchurch, Chief Executive Officer, Virtuoso
  • Olga Ramudo, President & CEO of Express Travel

Where: National Press Club, 529 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20045. Contact [email protected] to join us in-person or join virtually & register for the Live Webcast.

When: Tuesday, May 18, from 2:00 pm3:00 pm ET

Why: As headlines about ravaged commercial airlines and empty hotels swirled, Congress worked to provide relief to the travel and hospitality industry. But while the government doled out assistance to airlines, restaurants, and other highly visible sectors, one lesser known, but no less critical, group went unaccounted for. The travel agency industry’s predominantly small, woman-owned businesses have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and yet they’ve been virtually ignored in relief bills to date. Travel agencies are an economic lifeline for the entire tourism ecosystem. Pre-pandemic, travel advisors had experienced five consecutive years of record sales and profits. In 2019, advisors sold $116.8 billion of travel including: 44 percent of all airline tickets (830,000 tickets per day); 66 percent of cruises and 31 percent of hotel bookings.

Despite the devastating blow of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is now a strong increase in overall demand for travel with 89 percent of travelers indicating their readiness to travel by the end of 2021 according to ASTA’s consumer research. As a result of the surge in demand, travelers are turning to the experts for advice. Our research indicates that after the pandemic is over, nearly half of travelers (44%) are more likely to use a travel advisor. This trend was also cited in a recent New York Times feature: Make Way for the Travel Agents. Again.

While some bright spots have started to emerge, the fact of the matter is that travel advisors face a long road to recovery with the State Department and CDC continuing to discourage international travel, while cruise lines remain shuttered and business travel is still at a fraction of 2019 level. 

Topics We’ll Cover:

  • COVID-19 impact and recovery from the perspective of the largest travel agency consortia leaders.
  • Cruising and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Conditional Sail Order (CSO).
  • Travel trends in 2021 and beyond for both leisure and business travel.

Contact: Erika Richter
[email protected] or (586) 604-9226

SOURCE American Society of Travel Advisors



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