ASTA CEO Commends New COVID-19 Relief Legislation

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The next round of federal coronavirus (COVID-19) relief legislation adds $310 billion to the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program and $50 billion for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. It is expected to pass Congress this week. 

“ASTA commends Congressional leadership and the Trump Administration for their quick action to replenish the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program and increase funding for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program,” Zane Kerby, president and CEO of the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), said in a statement. “While these programs are far from perfect, they have provided financial relief to some of our members, and the additional funding will mean more relief for more travel agencies. The need for increased funding is particularly acute, as member survey data show a large number of ASTA members have thus far been unable to access relief under either program, which we view as unacceptable.”

Between April 17 and April 20, ASTA surveyed its membership on their experiences with the various relief programs in the CARES Act. According to the nearly 700 respondents:

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  • 66 percent had applied for a Paycheck Protection Program loan; of those:
    • 20.1 percent had been approved for a loan
    • 39.9 percent found the process very difficult, 26.8 percent moderately difficult and 17.3 percent somewhat difficult
    • 38.4 percent had difficulty in finding a bank, credit union or other financial institution that was willing to accept their application 
  • 63.7 percent had applied for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan; of those:
    • 7.1 percent had been approved for a loan
    • 26.1 percent found the process very difficult, 22.6 percent moderately difficult and 17.8 percent somewhat difficult

Kerby adds, “Our laser-focus in the coming weeks and months will be securing the maximum amount of financial relief for the greatest number of our members, so they can survive the immediate crisis and be prepared for an eventual recovery. We will also support any and all measures to renew consumer confidence in the U.S. economy and in the travel industry in particular, such as widespread, consistent and quick coronavirus testing and work toward an eventual vaccine. Doing so will help instill consumer confidence and get America’s economy, and its intrepid travelers, moving again.”

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