ASAE CEO Supports Travel Deductions Michael S. Olson, president and CEO of the American Society of Association Executives, Washington, D.C., wrote the following letter, which was published in the October 22 edition of USA Today.

"On behalf of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and the associations community, I would like to echo the sentiments of my colleagues on the Travel Business Roundtable who expressed faith in an eventual return to normalcy with regard to business travel (''Bouncing back may require 'breather,' '' Money, Oct. 15).

Business travel is not a luxury but a necessity. Associations know as well as anyone the reasons people travel and have face-to-face meetings. It is an irreplaceable facet of our professional development and our ability to build strong relationships with our peers and colleagues around the world.

It is also an undeniably significant piece of America's economic vitality, with meetings and conventions generating billions in delegate spending, new construction and tax revenue for local communities.

There is no question about the need at this stage of the nation's recovery to create incentives that encourage corporations and individuals to move forward with their travel plans.

ASAE and the association community have long advocated the restoration of the full deduction for travel expenses of a spouse accompanying an employee on a business trip, and for business meals and entertainment. Now is the time to pass legislation making that proposal a reality.

We are already seeing the signs of recovery, as airlines are reporting increased traffic, and associations are moving ahead with previously scheduled meetings and conventions in cities across the country, including New York and Washington, D.C.

With the right stimulus package and some forward thinking with regard to marketing and the safety and security of travelers, we can get on with the business of America."