Posts Tagged ‘American Society of Travel Agents’

Proposed Aviation Tax Increases Harmful to Travel Industry, Consumers, Says ASTA

July 22, 2011

ASTA is warning that increasing taxes on air travel "catastrophic for an industry already struggling to recover from the recent recession which saw millions of Americans curtail their travel." © 2011 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The American Society of Travel Agents is calling upon the federal lawmakers to look elsewhere for money to close the budget deficit, saying that increasing aviation taxes would only serve to hurt the U.S. transportation industry and the consumers who rely on it.

“To place additional taxes on airline travel might assist with closing the budget gap in the short run, but such actions will no doubt have unintended, long-term negative consequences as consumers already faced with tight budgets cut back on air travel or eliminate it altogether,” said Tony Gonchar, ASTA CEO. “The results could be catastrophic for an industry already struggling to recover from the recent recession which saw millions of Americans curtail their travel.

“It won’t be just the airlines that feel the resulting pain, but travel agencies who sell air, hotels and resorts, cruise lines and car rental companies to name a few. The resulting loss of jobs would only serve to compound our current economic troubles, rather than alleviate them,” Gonchar added.

According to a release recently issued by the Air Transport Association of America, the industry’s non-income tax burden has grown from $3.7 billion in 1993 to approximately $17 billion today. In 2010, U.S. airlines and their passengers contributed $3.4 billion in taxes and fees to the Department of Homeland Security, including $2 billion in taxes and fees to the Transportation Security Administration – a 50 percent increase from the amount collected in 2002. Taxes on ARC-settled air fares sold by travel agents increased from 9.7 percent in 2001 to 16.63 percent in 2010.

The mission of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) is to facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism. ASTA seeks a retail travel marketplace that is profitable and growing and a rewarding field in which to work, invest and do business.

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www.travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

Tips for Traveling with Children This Holiday Season from America’s travel agents

December 6, 2010
Coco Key Hotel & Waterpark, Orlando

A great family holiday begins with choosing a family-friendly resort like CoCo Key Hotel and Water Resort-Orlando. An ASTA travel agent can recommend vacation destinations tailor-made for your family's interests and budget, find great deals on airfare and hotels © 2010 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), which represents retail travel agents, has some recommendations for families headed off for holiday travel.

Anyone who has spent part of their holiday travels with cranky children in tow knows how important patience and preparation can be. So what can frazzled parents do before hitting the road or taking to the skies to make sure their little ones are happy? Check out TravelSense.org, ASTA’s consumer Web site, for helpful travel advice on everything from traveling with kids or with grandkids to traveling with pets and contact a local ASTA travel agent.

Among the tips are:

  • Keep planning simple: Traveling with kids in tow involves many details. To make the process easier, consider using an ASTA travel agent, who can recommend vacation destinations tailor-made for your family’s interests and budget, find great deals on airfare and hotels, and fill you in on the latest airport security news.
  • Make getting to your destination fun: Use time traveling together for zany sing-alongs, family storytelling sessions and scavenger hunts. Parents can draw up a list of things you might expect to see from a car or plane, such as two-toned cows, a car toting a Christmas tree, or a man wearing a red hat, then have the kids vie to see who spots the items first. For the ultimate treat, splurge on a portable DVD player, and watch a new holiday movie in transit
  • Pack a fun bag: Assemble a bag for each child containing stickers, paper and washable markers, posable figurines (that don’t have a lot of pieces), magnetic games and puzzles and a pillow. Or, for a special treat or when chaos reigns, consider a portable DVD player just for long trips. If you use these particular bags for trips only, they’ll remain novel, and kids will look forward to the journey.
  • Break up the trip with frequent stops: Playgrounds, indoor fun centers, and family restaurants are good bets.
  • Make a memory box: Bring an empty shoebox along to store items you’ll collect along the way, such as seashells, rocks, funny postcards, and marked-up road maps. When you get home, label the box with the trip destination and date, and you’ll have a great souvenir of your time together.

“Traveling with cranky kids over the holidays can make even the merriest parent feel like saying ‘Bah, Humbug’,” said ASTA President and Chair Chris Russo. “Working with a professional travel agent to plan your holiday get-away means parents will have one less thing to worry about when packing up to hit the slopes or visit grandma.”

To locate a travel agent near you, visit TravelSense.org’s Find a Travel Agent directory.

For features about great family destinations and resorts, visit www.travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate.