Nearly 320 Travel Agents Receive $13.4 Million in SBALoans

Alexandria, Va., March 25, 2002 -The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) today praised the Small Business Administration (SBA) for approving 319 travel agency applications in 48 states for a total of $13.4 million in disaster loans as of Feb. 28, 2002. The average loan size was $42,000.

Last October, ASTA`s lobbying efforts paid off when the SBA agreed to expand its Economic Injury Disaster Loan program to include travel agencies around the country who are suffering as a result of Sept. 11.

“These few months have been very challenging for travel agents, so ASTA is reminding its members that these loans are available to help them rebuild their businesses and thrive again,” said ASTA President and CEO Richard M. Copland, CTC. “The number of loans for travel agents approved by the SBA is likely much higher, since these figures were calculated before the Administration changed the size standards for eligible travel agencies. More and more agencies are eligible for these low-interest loans, so those needing additional help to get back on their feet are strongly encouraged to apply.”

ASTA had been instrumental in the March 12 action by the SBA to include those agencies with annual revenues of up to $3 million, rather than $1 million as was originally set.

The deadline for travel agencies to submit new SBA loan applications is April 22, 2002.