ASTA encouraged by draft stimulus bill


ALEXANDRIA, VA – ASTA is encouraged by a newly-released draft of the forthcoming economic stimulus bill. The draft, announced by House leaders yesterday, includes provisions designed to create small business opportunity. Among these provisions is US$430 million for new direct lending and loan guarantee provisions to make loans more attractive and to free-up capital.

“The inclusion of a direct lending program in this bill comes as very good news to our small business travel agents,” said Chris Russo, ASTA’s president and chair. “Restoring access to credit is the most important step that Congress can take to help small business owners to navigate the economic downturn.”

Since late 2008, ASTA has been asking the Bush administration, the new Congress, and the incoming Obama administration to act swiftly to create a new program to permit the Small Business Administration to lend directly to small business owners.

Russo added, “While we are eager to learn more details about the stimulus package, ASTA is committed to working with Congressional negotiators and the new administration to ensure that the legislation delivers targeted, meaningful help to travel agents and other small business owners and will set the stage for an economic recovery in 2009.”

For additional information on this issue, please visit or contact Colin Tooze, vice president of government affairs, at .

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.