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What Snoop Dogg’s success reveals about the book industry

As fear for their industry turned to stunned optimism last year, publishers began to rethink almost everything they once took for granted, from how to cultivate new literary talent to how which they market and sell books. Live literary events like book signings and author appearances have been replaced, as with so many things, by Zoom. BookExpo, the largest gathering of publishing professionals in the United States, which typically took place in May and attracted thousands of booksellers, publishers, editors, agents, authors and librarians at the Javits Center in New York, has been canceled. The convention center is now used as a site for mass vaccination.

“One of the most important things that will change is a reassessment of everything we do and how we do it,” said Don Weisberg, CEO of Macmillan.

The loss of live authoring events has all but wiped out an important source of revenue for bookstores. Virtual events can draw larger and more geographically diverse crowds, and they’re cheaper for publishers, but the online audience often doesn’t buy the book from the store that hosts it.

Gayle Shanks, co-owner of Changing Hands in Phoenix and Tempe, Ariz., Said at virtual book events the store only sold half a dozen books. At a really good virtual event, they can sell 150 copies – but that same author, in person, can sell 1000. Some publishers have started paying her stores to run virtual events, she said, usually between $ 200 and $ 500, which is roughly comparable to what they would earn if they sold 20 to 50 pounds, she said.

Like large retailers, independent bookstores were also inundated with online orders, a welcome surge in activity when their doors were closed, but poorly set up to manage – some stores went from maybe be a dozen orders per day to hundreds last spring. . For many of them, growing online sales was still not enough.

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Bipartisan Hospitality and Commerce Bill Gets Travel Industry Support

The Travel Association of America has endorsed the bipartisan Hospitality and Commerce Jobs Reclamation Act introduced to Congress this week.

The bill would provide much-needed assistance to the devastated travel industry through numerous key COVID-19 relief and incentive measures. Travel saw about a $ 500 billion decrease in spending last year, while nearly four out of 10 American jobs lost in 2020 were in the leisure and hospitality sector.

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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

In terms of the specifics of the Hospitality and Commerce Jobs Recovery Act, the bill provides several necessary initiatives to help recover the millions of travel jobs lost to the coronavirus pandemic.

—A temporary business tax credit to revitalize business meetings, conferences, and other structured events.

—A temporarily restored entertainment business expense deduction to help entertainment venues and performing arts centers recover.

—An individual tax credit to encourage non-business travel.

—Tax relief for restaurants and food and beverage companies to help restore food service jobs and strengthen America’s entire food supply chain.

“The evidence is very clear: There will be no US economic recovery without a travel recovery, and travel cannot recover without strong and innovative political assistance,” said Roger Dow, executive director of the American Travel Association. . “Even with the ray of hope that vaccines provide, it is unclear when travel demand can seriously recover. This bill contains critical provisions to help rebuild this crucial but suffering US industry. “

To show industry-wide support for the bipartisan legislation, the Travel Association of America sent a letter to the Capitol signed by more than 80 major travel-related businesses and organizations.

The primary sponsors of the Hospitality and Commerce Employment Recovery Act are Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND), and Representatives Steven Horsford (D-NV), Darin LaHood (R- IL), Tom Rice (R-SC) and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA).

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Travel Industry Calls on Congress to Provide More Assistance to Travel Agents

A group of 25 travel companies sent a letter to federal legislators representing Florida in Washington DC asking for immediate relief for the travel agency industry.

Suggestions from the travel agency, consortia, host agency, franchise organization, and cruise line executives are in line with the assistance plans established by the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA).

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Part of the letter focuses on US government grants and loans for travel agencies, as well as possible actions to mitigate the impact of Canada’s port closures on the Alaska cruise season.

ASTA data showed that average travel agency business revenue declined 82 percent in 2020 compared to 2019. Even with the government’s economic relief, the average travel agency has laid off about 60 percent of its personal.

Executives are calling on the government to take responsibility for the impact expanded travel restrictions have on agencies and their employees. The group believes that “financial support for the travel industry has been uneven so far, especially with respect to less visible sectors of the industry such as travel agencies.”

The letter reminds representatives that 98 percent of U.S. travel agencies are small businesses by Small Business Administration (SBA) size standards, and about 66 percent are owned by women and men. they are operated by them. Continued losses could force more agencies to close forever.

Here are the priorities officials are asking government representatives to consider in any upcoming COVID-19 relief and recovery legislation:

—Create a $ 9.3 billion travel agency grant program similar to those created by the Continuing Appropriations Act of 2021 (PL 116-159) for performing arts venues, cinemas and museums ($ 15 billion) and operators of buses, ferries and private school buses ($ 2 billion). This amount represents the projected revenue loss from Q2 to Q4 2021 based on a comprehensive survey of more than 1,500 ASTA members conducted on January 28-29, 2021, and is almost certainly conservative.

—Expand eligibility in the Enclosed Venue Operator Grant Program (listed above) to include attractions, meeting and event organizers, and travel agencies that promote, plan and book trips to those attractions and events. Such an expansion would be similar in spirit to the original indoor venue program, which includes not only venue operators, but promoters, producers, and talent representatives as well.

—Include the NAICS Code 5615 (Travel organization and reservation services) in the provision of the Continuous Assignments Act that allows certain companies to receive a PPP loan of 3.5 times their average monthly payroll compared to 2.5 times for others applicants.

—Support any and all efforts to mitigate the impact of the Canadian government’s decision to suspend cruise operations in Canadian waters until February 2022 and ensure that the cruise industry in Alaska can resume operations as soon as possible.

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COVID-19 related tourism industry losses in 2020 exceeded $ 750 billion

New research suggests that the top 50 countries supporting the global tourism industry have lost an estimated $ 753.6 billion due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Overall, the numbers are likely to be “much higher.”

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According to hotel room deals platform Hoo, international tourism revenue fell to $ 548.9 billion in 2020, a 57.9 percent drop from $ 1.302.5 billion the previous year. In total, the data shows that the industry lost $ 753.6 billion in tourism revenue last year.

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In the United States, the combination of widespread COVID-19 cases and political unrest resulted in the largest decline in international tourism revenue, going from $ 125 billion in 2019 to just $ 89.1 billion in 2020.

“We are now beginning to get a sense of the extent of the pandemic’s impact on global tourism over the past year and it is quite staggering, to say the least,” said Hoo co-founder Adrian Murdock. “It is fair to say that the industry has been decimated due to COVID-19, with widespread travel restrictions causing drastic drops in tourism revenue almost across the board.”

“Unfortunately as we are, it looks like things will get worse before they get better, with 2021 still not seeing a return to normal and with even tighter restrictions, if at all,” continued Murdock. “There is no question that once these restrictions are lifted, there will be an almost insatiable appetite for travel and this will bring an immediate boost to the industry. The question is, how long will companies have to wait to see those better days? “

To collect the data, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) provided information for the top 50 tourist destinations, including pre-coronavirus levels, the estimated decline as a result of the pandemic, and financial data for the industry.

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Oil industry faces a bleak future after murderous year

For much of the past year, investors criticized Exxon and Wall Street was plagued by rumors the company would cut its dividend to preserve cash. The stock price had fallen about half from the start of last January, falling to $ 31 in November, its lowest level in nearly 20 years.

But Exxon’s share price has rebounded to around $ 46, mainly because energy prices have rallied sharply in recent weeks. Oil prices have risen nearly 10% this year, and the snowstorm in the northeast is pushing up natural gas prices because the fuel is used to heat homes and businesses. Exxon’s dividend now looks secure. And write downs aside, Exxon made a small profit in the last three months of the year.

“The industry has gone to hell and back,” said Michael C. Lynch, president of Strategic Energy and Economy Research. “Most of them have survived the worst circumstances they’ve ever faced, and it’s almost certain that things will improve from here in terms of price and demand.”

Goldman Sachs has predicted that oil prices could rise by $ 10 a barrel, up to $ 65 by July. It would be a remarkable recovery from prices which were languishing at less than half of those for much of 2020, even if it would remain well below prices of a decade ago, when a barrel of oil was over $ 140 and the oil companies were making record profits.

The industry has suffered repeated shocks in recent years, with prices falling during the recession that began in December 2007, again in 2015 when OPEC flooded the market with crude to cut US production, and the year last, when the pandemic took hold.

The pain of the industry has forced many companies to lay off employees and cut dividends. Dozens of once-high-flying companies like Chesapeake Energy have declared bankruptcy in recent years.

Even now, as conditions appear to be improving, the outlook for the industry remains uncertain. Due to the emergence of new variants of the coronavirus, it is not clear how quickly the United States, Europe and other major economies will bring the spread of the virus under control. And then there are the big questions about climate change.

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Travel industry reacts to new executive orders from President Biden

The travel industry is responding to the latest pandemic-related executive orders issued by the White House, including President Joe Biden’s mask mandate that will require face covering in national parks and airplanes, as well as a controversial new requirement. that US destination international travelers self-quarantine upon arrival.

The Travel Association of America praised Biden for making masks a requirement and lifting the travel ban in certain Muslim-majority countries, but seems hesitant about new restrictions on inbound travel.

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President-elect Joe Biden

“We welcome the president’s focus on policies that will promote safe travel and help restore the millions of travel jobs in the US that were lost last year,” the president and chief executive officer of travel said Friday. “The CDC’s proof-of-entry requirement is the key to reopening international travel and adds another important layer of security. If the proof-of-entry requirement is going to work on a global scale, it has to be flexible and reflect where the data are available. trial resources and where it is not. The executive order would allow flexibility if necessary. “

“We also strongly support the President’s mask mandate for interstate travel, which is in line with industry health and safety guidelines and consistent with what countless travel companies are already doing to protect travelers and workers.” added. “In particular, repealing the travel ban in certain Muslim-majority countries is the right move. The CDC’s testing requirement for international travelers should also pave the way for easing other travel restrictions, including those in the UK. , the EU and Brazil in the short term. “

However, US Travel raised concerns about the administration’s quarantine requirement, calling it “unnecessary.”

“The executive order on travel also leaves many important questions unanswered. We believe that a mandatory quarantine requirement for international travelers could be extremely difficult to enforce, and unnecessary in light of the required testing and the many other protections that now exist. In the national setting, where there are no defined ports of entry for travelers, mandatory testing and other requirements are also not practical and could divert scarce public health resources from other priorities, “said Dow. “We look forward to working with Biden’s management to develop realistic and effective risk-based policies, and to educate travelers on additional recommendations, to help continue the safe reopening of trips.”

Ryan Doncsecz of Bethlehem, Pennyslvania-based VIP Vacations Inc believes that “CDC’s new ‘guidelines’ will be the ‘last straw’ for so many small business owners across our country” and urges of the travel industry to have their voices heard from their local representatives and senators.

Airlines for America (A4A), which includes members Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines, among others, reflected the travel industry as a whole in its response, applauding the Biden’s mask mandate but expressing concern about the often difficult quarantine requirements to enforce.

“Airlines for America (A4A) appreciates President Biden’s dedication to supporting the US airline industry and appreciates his leadership in policies that promote travel restoration in a way that prioritizes the safety and well-being of all passengers and employees, “A4A President and CEO Nicholas E Calio said in a statement issued Friday. “We appreciate the Biden Administration’s decision to implement a federal face-covering mandate for all national public transportation modes, including airports and commercial aircraft. The safety and well-being of passengers and employees are always the top priority. of US airlines Coverages are a critical measure in our multi-layered approach to protecting the traveling public, which is why US airlines have been vigorously enforcing facial coverage requirements since April 2020. We welcome to the federal mandate as an additional layer of support, which will strengthen our flight crews’ ability to enforce face-covering requirements during the pandemic. “

“US airlines have been strong advocates of a national testing standard set by the federal government and appreciate that the executive order moves our country forward on a testing framework,” Calio added. “We are hopeful that this announcement will be followed by a recognition that testing can be used to safely resume travel without quarantine, which is difficult to enforce and often ineffective. We look forward to continuing to work closely with the Administration. to implement programs and policies that can be trusted to defeat this virus, restore economic growth, and enable the safe and responsible lifting of travel restrictions and quarantines. “

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Legislators call on travel industry to increase security ahead of inauguration

With the idea that there is strength in the numbers, or, at least, have an extra pair of eyes, US lawmakers have reached out to the travel industry asking for help to prevent another attack in Washington on the day of the inauguration similar to what it happened in the United States Capitol.

Increasing security is the topic of the week as Joe Biden prepares to be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday, January 20. Already, most travel entities have erred on the side of caution, with Airbnb blocking reservations in the Washington DC area this week.

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Now, the House Oversight Committee has sent letters to more than two dozen travel-related businesses asking for help “identifying and preventing the continuing and extreme threat of further violent attacks” in Washington and elsewhere, according to CNN.

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Letters were sent to bus line operators, car rental companies and hotels. The request says that the rioters who attacked the Capitol on January 6 “relied on a variety of companies and services to get them there and house them once they arrived.”

CNN noted that the letter asks companies to increase security and control of guests and to keep business records available for future investigation, as well as to provide Congress with records of any policies “currently in place or under development to ensure their services are not used to facilitate domestic violence or terrorism. “

Bus companies include Greyhound, Megabus, BoltBus, Lux Bus America, Vamoose, Jefferson Lines, Peter Pan, Flixbus, and RedCoach.

The car rental companies that received a letter were Enterprise, Hertz, Avis, National, Alamo, Budget, Dollar, and Thrifty.

And the hotels included Expedia (owner of VRBO), Intercontinental Hotels Group, Accor Group, Hyatt, Hilton, Choice Hotels, Marriott, Best Western International, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, and Extended Stay America.

Airlines like Delta have also stepped up, banning controlled firearms.

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Travel industry applauds Biden’s proposed $ 1.9 trillion stimulus

The Travel Association of America Commends President Elect Joe Biden’s Proposed COVID-19 Relief Plan Worth $ 1.9 Trillion.

The stimulus package proposed Thursday calls for spending $ 20 billion in a national immunization program and allocating $ 15 billion to develop a new grant program for small business owners separate from the existing Paycheck Protection Program.

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The proposal also calls for a $ 35 billion investment in some state, local, tribal and nonprofit financing programs that offer low-interest loans and provide venture capital to entrepreneurs.

“Accelerating vaccine delivery is the key to getting travel back to normal, and we applaud President-elect Biden’s emphasis on a strong federal leadership role to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible,” said the President and Executive Director of US Travel Roger Dow. in a statement issued Thursday. “In addition, we are encouraged by measures to provide additional grants and loans to small businesses in the worst affected industries, including travel. The Paycheck Protection Program will expire in March, but the economic difficulties of the pandemic will persist, for so it is important that companies in difficulty continue to receive help to maintain their operations and keep workers on the payroll. “

Dow continued to recognize that restoring travel will be critical to the recovery of the economy.

“Before the pandemic, travel jobs existed in every congressional district. Travel will play a vital role in America’s economic recovery in the coming months, but businesses will need this sustenance to survive until regular travel can resume. completely, “he added.

“We are grateful to President-elect Biden for his focus on fighting the virus and bringing relief to America’s hardest hit industries, and we look forward to working with the new administration on additional recovery and stimulus measures.”

The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) also expressed support for Biden’s aid proposal.

“We welcome and wholeheartedly support the provisions of President-elect Biden’s COVID-19 relief proposal that will help fuel the recovery of the travel industry and provide support to ASTA members, employees and independent contractors,” he said Eben Peck, ASTA executive vice president of defense, in a statement. . “These include an ambitious national vaccination program, an extension of the CARES Act unemployment programs through September, and grants targeting the small businesses hardest hit by COVID.”

“With that said, this is just the beginning of the process and we are working with partners in Congress to leverage these proposals and provide additional support to our members, including specific funding for travel businesses and new long-term loan programs for the most affected. businesses in line with the RESTART Act last year “.

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Supreme Court case could limit future lawsuits against fossil fuel industry

Acting City of Baltimore Attorney Dana P. Moore said the city has filed a lawsuit in state courts “because it’s the proper forum to hold them to account for wrongs. localized ”. She called the fossil fuel industry’s efforts to bring the case to Federal Court a “delay tactic.”

Baltimore’s lawsuit, originally filed in July 2018, argues that the city “is particularly vulnerable to sea level rise and flooding,” and that it has spent “significant funds” to plan and cope. to global warming. The lawsuit also cites the cost of health problems linked to climate change, including rising hospitalization rates in summer.

Michael Martin, the pastor of Stillmeadow Community Fellowship, a church in southwest Baltimore, said the effects of climate change on the city were increasingly evident. “We are on a path towards more flooding and worse flooding,” he said. The church served as a community center after the ruinous floods of May 2018 that warped roads and put seven feet of water on the streets. And the floods keep coming.

As for the Baltimore case, he said, “I think it’s bold, and I think it’s useful.” But he suggested that focusing solely on fossil fuel companies was short-sighted, as other factors such as development were also major contributors to the floods.

As the hearing date nears, a number of science and advocacy organizations, including the Union of Concerned Scientists, have called on new Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett to stand recuse the case because his father, Michael Coney, was for many years one of the main lawyers and Shell officials, one of the defendants. As a judge of the Seventh Circuit, Ms Coney has withdrawn from cases involving certain Shell entities.

In response to written questions submitted after her nomination hearings, she said she would “consider all relevant factors” to the challenge issue “where there is an appearance of bias”. She has not yet announced a challenge in this case. (Judge Samuel Alito, who owns shares in fossil fuel companies, recused himself.)

For Lee Wasserman, director of the Rockefeller Family Fund, which promotes climate litigation as a way to hold companies accountable for their role in global warming, the need for Ms. Coney’s recusal is obvious. “Her first major decision on court is whether she should recuse herself in a case involving her father,” Mr. Wasserman said.

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Travel industry reacts to CDC’s new air travel requirements

The travel industry has responded quickly to news that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will begin requiring a negative COVID-19 test of all U.S.-bound air passengers. January, hailing the strategy as a key security measure but expressing concern that the mandate could further hamper travel and ultimately delay the industry’s recovery.

In a statement released Tuesday night, U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes said a testing requirement must be met with the removal of travel restrictions. and quarantine mandates.

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“We welcome the announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of a COVID-19 testing requirement for inbound international travelers. A testing requirement provides another level of security for international travel and must be accompanied by other policies. based on risk, including lifting travel restrictions and eliminating any post-arrival quarantine requirements, “Barnes said.

“With an international testing requirement in place, international visitors and returning residents would be tested at much higher rates than the general public and would pose a much lower risk of transmitting the disease. Therefore, it would make sense to eliminate international travel restrictions and quarantine requirements at the same time, “he added. “With a layered approach based on health and safety risk in all aspects of travel, it is possible to protect public health and allow travel to resume safely.”

Zane Kerby, president and CEO of the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), warned that the new requirement “will not guarantee that COVID-19 will not spread” and could lead to “stranded passengers, missed connections and canceled flights.”

“ASTA supports an accurate and rapid response testing regime for airline travelers in lieu of mandatory quarantines and travel bans. However, requiring a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure will not guarantee that the COVID-19 does not spread, “Kerby said in a statement issued Wednesday. “It is very possible to become infected within 72 hours of receiving a negative test result. As the CDC has already recognized, on its own, the new testing regulation will not stop the spread of the virus due to the wait time between testing. test and flight, incubation period and false positives “.

“Implementing such a requirement without a reliable rapid response test threatens to create a logistics crisis. When travelers are stranded because they cannot get a test at the destination in time for departure (if at all), this will trigger a ripple effect throughout the supply chain: stranded passengers, missed connections and canceled flights, “he added. “The inability to obtain proof and the uncertainty of being stranded will cause many travelers to postpone their plans, resulting in further mental, emotional, and financial harm. At the very least, the CDC should communicate its list of exempt destinations for assessors to and consumers can make informed decisions about their travel plans. “

“Also, now that vaccines are available, we have a solution to ensure that travelers are protected. ASTA remains committed to promoting more resources for vaccine distribution, increasing the capacity and timeliness of testing in our own backyard, and a federal mandate that requires masks in all public places, “said Kerby.” The CDC director has said that wearing a mask is the most important step you can take to protect yourself from the virus. That is why we have asked the incoming Biden Administration to require passengers to wear masks on all flights, domestic and foreign. Requiring virus testing when the global infrastructure for testing does not exist will further affect travel economics without addressing the issue at hand. “

Doctor testing patient for COVID-19.
PHOTO: Doctor testing a patient for COVID-19. (photo via Morsa Images / E +)

Travel advisers are equally concerned about the CDC announcement. Jemica Archer of TruBlue Travels said she is “absolutely amazed that this measure is being implemented so quickly” and predicts that it will be “detrimental” to travel companies.

“We were starting to recover for the 2021 travels. I started getting emails from clients about cancellations or their concerns about not being able to return to the country. I think it will be detrimental to the travel industry. Based on this news, I expect to see more cancellations and I probably won’t see my business recover in 2021, “he added.

Meanwhile, Ryan Doncsecz of VIP Vacations Inc called the CDC’s latest effort a “major hurdle and possibly a devastating last blow for travel agencies,” and predicted that an “already very small clientele will shrink once again.”

“To help save our industry, the CDC has now called on tourism boards in other countries to help initiate a plan on how to help effectively implement testing in these destinations that may already be struggling to manage and process. trials. Hopefully our resort partners will see the need to offer trial at the destination as well, but by no means do I expect others to continue to collect additional bills that were previously not associated with their hotel deals, “said Doncsecz, who continues being cautiously optimistic.

“I am very concerned about the outcome of this, but I hope that an attitude of solidarity will be maintained among travel professionals who express their concerns not only about their careers, but also about the financial support of so many travel-related jobs, combined With the backing of ASTA and others, corporations can help CDC see how negatively this will affect so many people around the world, “he concluded.

Internova Travel Group CEO JD O’Hara echoed the sentiment expressed by US Travel and called on those in power to lift restrictions on inbound travelers.

“We support the new ruling by the Centers for Disease Control to prevent the spread of the virus, especially if the testing regime will replace quarantine requirements and bring us one step closer to opening the world to travel,” he said in a statement. . “The trials will allow for safer air and cross-border travel and will be critical to our industry rebound. We therefore urge the Administration to move forward with lifting entry restrictions on travelers from the UK, Europe and Brazil. A collaborative approach with Clear and transparent communication between the government and airlines, hotels, destinations and travel advisors is essential as we continue to work together towards a safe return from travel. “

AAA is promoting the development of a comprehensive testing infrastructure to drive a safe recovery.

“As a trusted brand, AAA is focused on the safety of our members and all travelers. Access to testing is a critical component in supporting safe return to travel, as well as achieving critical mass in vaccines. AAA encourages the development of testing infrastructure to enable safe return to travel, “AAA Senior Vice President of Travel Paula Twidale said in a statement.

“Traveling is a very personal decision. For travelers unsure how to navigate today, AAA travel agents are available to help them make an informed decision to travel safely.”

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