Nevada Congresswoman calls for smart approach at ASTA

Sep 22, 2020
In The News

Reopening travel and tourism is possible, but it must be done in a safe and measured way lest cases of Covid-19 spike and further shutdowns are necessary.

That was Rep. Dina Titus’ message on Tuesday at ASTA Global Live, the Society’s virtual convention, when she was interviewed by ASTA executive vice president of advocacy Eben Peck.

Peck asked the Nevada Democrat, who is very familiar with the travel industry based on her work in Congress, when she believed travel would return to the level of 2019, when so many businesses experienced their best years.

“Different people say different numbers,” she said. “I don’t know. I think the main thing we have to do is be smart about the opening. We have seen, like in Florida, even in Texas, when you open too fast and you don’t have these health restrictions in place, then you spike again.”

Related report: ASTA demands Congress continue working on pandemic relief

Titus is in her fifth term. She is a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and is a longtime co-chair of the Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus. 

She also was the lead Democrat on the Travel Advisor Retail Fairness Act, a bill calling on the Department of Labor to rescind travel agencies from a regulatory blacklist that would have prohibited them from utilizing an overtime exemption designed for retail businesses. That bill, Peck said, paved the way for Labor to eliminate the blacklist entirely earlier this year.

Titus’ district includes much of Las Vegas, from McCarran Airport to the Strip to downtown. She was supportive of the governor’s efforts to shut down the state when the coronavirus started to spread. 

Now, she said, the state is reopening with new health and safety rules in place, like social distancing, more thorough cleaning of machines in casinos and mask requirements. 

“A place like Las Vegas, if we’re not smart about opening and do it on the basis of health -- not on the basis of politics -- and we start to spike again and we have to close down, that would just be terrible,” she said. “It would take much longer, and be much more expensive, to come back a second time. So we’ve got to do it smart. We’ve got to be cautious. It will be slow, but then it will come back.”