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Some of the talk at the ASTA Global Conference at the end of August was around the California Assembly Bill (AB) 5, which as previously written threatened the business model of travel agencies in California that rely on independent contractors (ICs) to sell travel.

Just this week, the good news was shared that the latest version of the bill, which was made public this past Saturday, now includes an exemption for travel advisors.

“This was by far this biggest legislative challenge we have faced in recent memory,” said Zane Kerby, ASTA president & CEO in press materials. “We are enormously grateful for this result, and commend Assemblywoman Gonzalez for listening to our concerns and amending AB 5 accordingly. We are proud of the work put in by ASTA and its members in close coordination with CCTO, PATH, our consortia and franchise partners, ASTA Proud Partner suppliers and others, which protects the IC model in our industry to the benefit of agency owners, ICs and their clients alike.”

The new amendment would add travel agency services regulated by California’s Seller of Travel law to the list of “Professional Services” exempt from AB 5’s impacts. To be covered under the pre-Dynamex standard, the IC must be in compliance with the California Seller of Travel law, either by registering with the state or qualifying for the exemption from the registration requirement. ASTA notes that it will be watching closely and engaging wherever necessary, but getting to this point is a significant accomplishment for ASTA and its travel advisor members across the country.

This win was brought about through an unprecedented grassroots campaign, with many different players contributing such as: the California Coalition of Travel Organizations (CCTO), the Professional Association of Travel Hosts (PATH), the board members ASTA shares with CCTO (Betsy Geiser of Uniglobe Travel Center, Brian Chapin of Ensemble Travel Group and Patty Thorington of Plaza Travel), the more than 230 people who participated in joint ASTA-CCTO “Days of Action” on August 6 and 28, the 2,753 Californians who contacted their state senators through ASTA’s grassroots portal over the past few months, as well as travel advisors across the country who invest in ASTA through their member dues.

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