Every business has been impacted by COVID-19. 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, with business at a standstill and no end in sight, 64% of travel agencies in the U.S. have laid off at least half their staff — even with federal relief programs provided by the CARES Act. Over 70% will shutter within the next six months without additional relief.

Without that relief, travel agencies are looking at an extinction-level event. This would deprive the traveling public of the critical services travel advisers provide, and travel suppliers’ main distribution channel would be crippled.

After negotiations over the next relief bill deadlocked, Congress adjourned for their annual “August recess,” not to return until mid-September.

To our elected officials on behalf of the 140,000 people who work in our industry — get back to work and support the small businesses who desperately need your help. The future of our country depends on it.

Jennifer Hardy, Kent, franchise owner, Cruise Planners