Dear Members, Friends and Colleagues:
These continue to be troubling times to say the least. I am talking to many of you every day and I understand your angst as well as the concerns about your business and your industry overall.
I wanted to reiterate that ABA is here to provide any assistance and information that you need. The office is open and fully operational. Each staff member is busy working for you during this crisis, some in the office and some remotely. We are ringing Congressional offices and Administration offices constantly every day. We are contacting the media daily. We are working hard on trying to find solutions to help you survive this time of uncertainty.
I wanted to appraise you of some actions we have taken on your behalf these past couple of weeks. We are working closely with U.S. Travel and signing on to travel industry wide letters to Congress requesting that we receive help as soon as possible.
Yesterday I met with 10 other travel and tourism associations heads representing various parts of the industry to discuss the key issues facing the industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure that small businesses are not overlooked as government relief is addressed. The U.S. Department of Commerce was also a part of the discussion as was the Small Business Administration.
We discussed ways to achieve congressional economic relief, the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, and the overall impact of COVID-19 on the travel and tourism industry. We also discussed how the industry can work together in the coming months to help overcome the lasting effects of this pandemic.
We agreed to work together and collaborate on issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic relief; engage lawmakers on Capitol Hill and Executive Branch Officials as relief negotiations continue to ensure our industry remains a part of the conversation; advocate for any and all relief measures to help keep businesses’ doors open; and rely on one another and the spirit of the resilient travel and tourism sector navigate this unprecedented time.
This is not a one-off group meeting. We are meeting with other associations that touch every aspect of our industry. The association world in Washington and throughout the country are coming together in unprecedented ways during this time. We may compete with each other during other times, but right now we all realize there is strength in numbers.
And while we are in the current fight for our industry, know that we are also working on resources and opportunities to help get you back up and running once business can resume.
I will be holding another association-wide conference call next Wednesday, March 25 at 2 p.m. Details are coming but I do encourage you to join us.
I also encourage you to reach out to your governors and federal legislators. Tell them your story. Tell them you need help now. I would also suggest you reach out to your local news organizations. Talk to reporters and editors about your business, your employees, your impact on your community. The more voices out there can only help us get what we need.
Your ABA staff and I are here for you. Any time. Call or email us whatever you need help with, whether it is messaging for government leaders or for the media, we can help.
Take care and stay healthy,
Peter Pantuso, CTIS
President & CEO
American Bus Association