Sitting on Gov. Larry Hogan's desk is a new sales tax that will impact "brick-and-mortar" travel agencies such as mine and more than 200 other travel agencies in Maryland ("Online hotel booking tax legislation passes, goes to Hogan," April 8).

Should the governor fail to act soon, it will levy new and burdensome taxes on our industry, put more than 1,100 jobs at risk and slow the hiring of the next generation of travel service providers.

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As the travel industry has changed, so too have travel agents. Businesses such as mine have adapted and thrived by providing expert advice and services to travelers visiting Maryland from around the world. Our work generates millions of tourism dollars and tax revenues for the state annually.

Contrary to the popular notion that travel agents are a thing of the past, our industry is growing. According to a report released this week by the American Society of Travel Agents, 74 percent of its members employ more than one person and most are seeking to hire more.

Travel agencies across the country are seeking to hire ambitious young employees for high-paying, high-skill positions. Salaries for experienced agents average around $46,000 and top out at more than $100,000 a year.

Should Mr. Hogan fail to veto SB 190, all this will be cast into doubt. The bill's proponents refuse to acknowledge that this is a new tax on local businesses but we believe otherwise.

There is no question this tax will impact us. Time is running out for Maryland travel agents and business owners, and we call upon Mr. Hogan to veto this ill-advised new tax before it's too late.

Karen Dunlap, Beltsville

The writer is CEO of Travel-On Ltd.

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