USA Today published an article on September 24, 2020, which claims to “expose the belly of the travel industry.” The story suggests that travel agencies run “Ponzi schemes” to pay for reservations. The American Society of Travel Counselors (ASTA) responded to the massive claims in the USA Today article and clarified how the majority of travel counselors actually run their businesses. In the article, the authors write: “Many travel agencies implement Ponzi-type systems in which a traveller’s deposit pays for the tickets and accommodation of a previous traveler, etc.” The ASTA statement notes that this is incorrect. the business practice of all travel agencies is categorically wrong, ”the statement from ASTA read. “When travel agencies join ASTA, they commit to respecting its 12-point code of ethics, which prohibits commercial practices such as those described in this article. Members who violate the code can be (and have been) kicked out of the association. That being said, the number of legitimate consumer complaints against ASTA member agencies justifying the imposition of disciplinary action is extremely low. “There are a number of other rules that travel agencies must follow in addition to those of the association only.” Travel agencies must also follow the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) consumer protection rules relating to airline ticket reimbursements and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rules against unfair and deceptive practices, as well as the travel consumer protection laws that exist in many states. a strict code of ethics that advisers and agencies follow. “Any traveler who works with an ASTA member and has a problem has the opportunity to make a formal complaint to the association – and our consumer affairs team will investigate the matter and work with the consumer and the member. must reach an amicable resolution, ”noted the ASTA. “If the member company does not cooperate or if it finds out that it has engaged in dishonest or fraudulent conduct, ASTA will remove that member from the association.” ASTA highlights the hard work and tremendous effort that most travel counselors have put in to get clients home on canceled trips, get refunds, or book a new trip, often at no cost to their clients. “As with any industry, a few bad apples do not reflect the whole lot and the actions taken by the agencies cited in the article are anything but representative. Indeed, in the aftermath of the first wave of travel chaos caused by the pandemic, we often found travel counselors going above and beyond for their clients. The article goes on to discuss a “deposit shell game” that the authors apply widely to everyone. travel agency. ASTA points out that this is not the case: “It is simply wrong to suggest that travel counselors are making money off the backs of their clients who cancel trips. On the contrary, while new business and the income associated with it have essentially stopped thanks to Covid, the work has not been, ”said ASTA.ASTA also explains how the collapse in travel demand has made necessary the work of the advisers. 24 hours a day to accommodate customers whose plans have been interrupted or who are requesting refunds. “A travel counselor who doesn’t pay their suppliers in sufficient time is doing their business no favor,” the association says. “But again, this is hardly the way to do business for all travel companies – as this article suggests.” .