TGA is Working for You
January 4, 2021
As a result of the pandemic, we have lost iconic retailers, suffered lay-offs, and endured tragedies. While we mourn our losses, TGA continues to work every day to help our retailers and manufacturers. And we remain hopeful about the future.
Two promising new vaccines are testing at 95% effective, two more are in phase 3 trials, and over 4 million Americans have already received a COVID vaccination. And, President Trump just signed a $900 billion pandemic relief bill which among other provisions provides for direct payments of $600 to individuals, extends unemployment benefits, provides funds for the distribution of vaccines, and provides funds for schools and businesses. Longing for air travel has become nearly universal. One recent survey indicated that 95% of Americans miss traveling, and plan to travel again when COVID-19 travel restrictions are relaxed.
During this past year, TGA has served as a focal point for information about business relief programs, COVID-19 products, and local and national regulations. As the world sheltered in place, TGA took Showcase magazine digital, recognizing that work, shopping and socializing had moved online. We reported on the best new technology to help brick-and-mortar retailers capture internet sales, expanded reach and impact for manufacturers promoting new products, and negotiated deeper FedEx shipping discounts for all members.
TGA joined forces with the American Apparel & Footwear Association and other major business councils and secured business protection in the CARES act, including essential funding through the Paycheck Protection Program and critical temporary deferrals on tariffs and payroll taxes. We will continue to lobby for additional grants and loans in subsequent legislation to keep Americans working.
TGA continued our 6-year campaign to protect imports of travel goods in the Generalized System of Preferences program, allowing duty-free import of travel products. Regrettably, Congress did not extend the program before its scheduled expiration on January 1, but we are working hard to get the new Congress to retroactively renew GSP as soon as possible in early spring. In 2020 we prevented punitive tariffs on travel goods from Europe, Thailand, and Indonesia, and obtained tariff exclusions for certain travel goods from China.
We cheered and publicized the resourcefulness and philanthropy of the travel goods industry, as businesses responded to the crisis with donations and innovation. Our members received product placement in front of millions of readers in major media outlets such as Fox News, the Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post, as well as popular blogs and travel and fashion influencers.
TGA hosted one of the very last trade shows in the U.S. before the pandemic shut down convention centers across the country, and while The Travel Goods Show will take a hiatus in Spring of 2021, it will be back in full force in Spring of 2022 when the industry is safely on the other side of this crisis.
In March, TGA will launch the Travel Goods HUB, a new way for retailers to stay informed and suppliers to introduce new products in a dynamic and robust new format with quarterly content updates. All members will receive their own directory page, with cost-effective premium options available. Travel goods retailers will discover photos and videos of new products, search contact information, and scan product categories and trademarks. Think of it as an online marketplace that encourages connection and collaboration between buyers and manufacturers on a year-round basis!
Over the next month, we will introduce Packed in a Minute, a new member benefit intended to enhance the connection between manufacturers and buyers. We invite all manufacturer members to submit 60-second videos highlighting their newest products; these videos will live on the front page of the Travel Goods Showcase website.
We are optimistic about a travel surge in 2021, but we need your help. A stronger Association means greater support for our industry. Please renew your TGA membership today.
Michele Marini Pittenger
Travel Goods Association