Currently, ASTA members around the country are engaged in fights to stop their local Chambers of Commerce from engaging in the business of selling travel and competing directly with their own dues-paying members. To assist these members and those who may find themselves in a similar situation in the future, ASTA has developed a customizable grassroots public relations kit. This multi-element kit may be used by members to alert the media and their communities to this unfair practice.
"Call it infanticide or call it cannibalism, but whatever you call it, the fact that Chambers of Commerce would be selling travel in direct competition with its members is an outrage," said Bill Maloney, CTC, ASTA CEO. "Chambers of Commerce exist to help local members get more business, not to compete with them. We want to see the playing field leveled, and so we have created a set of tools for our members to use to get the word out about this great injustice."
"These activities undercut the business activities of the organizations’ own members
-local travel agencies and tour operators. In some cases, the Chamber adds insult to injury by using travel companies that are not even Chamber members," said Chris Russo, ASTA president and chair. "This issue has become, and rightly so, a serious matter of concern for travel agencies and tour operators across the country who are already facing numerous challenges in their struggle to stay in business, only to find themselves in competition with the very organization that purports to support them."
In addition to a brief public relations guide and instruction on using the tools, members can download a customizable press release and letter to the editor, a set of talking points, a background fact sheet to provide to the media, customizable letter to government officials and a customizable HTML letter to be sent to Chamber members.