The American Society of Travel Advisors presented U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski with the 2021 Global Travel Advocate Award for her efforts to support the travel and tourism industry, as well as her efforts to keep travel agencies and businesses open through a number of provisions in multiple COVID-19 relief packages. ASTA is a trade association for travel agents whose Executive Vice President for Advocacy Eban Peck, pictured above, made the award.
On May 24, 2021, the President signed into law the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act, led by Sen. Murkowski, Sen. Dan Sullivan, and Congressman Don Young, providing regulatory breaks for Alaska’s struggling cruise tourism industry. Cruises to Alaska are set to start in July, as a result, although smaller cruise ships have been visiting the state for over a month.
“Senator Murkowski’s efforts in support of the travel agency sector and the travel industry as a whole since COVID-19 hit have been a ray of light for our members during the most challenging time of their professional lives. From supporting inclusion of travel agencies in the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program to superhuman efforts to salvage a portion of the 2021 Alaska cruise season to advocating for tax incentives to speed the return of business and leisure travel, her work has helped travel agencies in Alaska and beyond survive this crisis. On behalf of the 375 Alaskans who work at travel agencies in the state and travel advisors everywhere, we are honored to present Senator Murkowski the 2021 ASTA Global Travel Advocate award,” said Zane Kerby, President and CEO of ASTA.
ASTA has 13 member accounts listed in Alaska, 10 of which belong to Visit Anchorage and the Alaska Railroad Corporation.
“Alaska’s economy is a three legged stool, with one of those being our tourism industry. So to say that travel and tourism is important to Alaska’s economy is an understatement. During the coronavirus pandemic, travel and tourism came to a big halt across much of the U.S., but for a state where so many of our communities rely on tourism for their economies, Alaska was among the states most severely impacted,” said Murkowski. “From the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act to the COVID relief packages, I’ve prioritized efforts to help bring tourism back and keep Alaskans afloat through the hardships created by the pandemic. I appreciate this recognition and I am thankful for all the Alaskans who have worked with me in these endeavors.”