Based on new analysis from the U.S. Travel Association, the organization projects an $809 billion hit on the U.S. economy and the loss of 4.6 million travel-related jobs in the country. The latest data shows that $202 billion in direct travel spending and the jobs loss will occur before May.
Tourism Economics presented these numbers to U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow during a White House meeting on Tuesday with President Trump, Vice President Pence, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and other travel leaders.
“The health crisis has rightly occupied the public’s and government’s attention, but a resulting catastrophe for employers and employees is already here and going to get worse,” Dow said. “Travel-related businesses employ 15.8 million Americans, and if they can’t afford to keep their lights on, they can’t afford to keep paying their employees. Without aggressive and immediate disaster relief steps, the recovery phase is going to be much longer and more difficult, and the lower rungs of the economic ladder are going to feel the worst of it.”
Dow also noted during the meeting that 83 percent of travel employers are small businesses.
The survey also found that transportation, lodging, retail, attractions and restaurants—is projected to plunge by $355 billion for the year, or 31 percent, which is more than six times the impact of the September 11 attacks.
The data also suggests that the estimated losses from the travel industry alone will push the country into a protracted recession that would last three quarters.
The U.S. unemployment rate would nearly double from 3.5 percent to 6.3 percent with the loss of 4.6 million jobs.
“This situation is completely without precedent,” Dow said. “For the sake of the economy’s long-term health, employers and employees need relief now from this disaster that was created by circumstances completely out of their control.”
Dow urged the administration to consider $150 billion in overall relief for the broader travel sector, including the following:
—Establish a Travel Workforce Stabilization Fund
—Provide an Emergency Liquidity Facility for travel businesses
—Optimize and modify SBA loan programs to support small businesses and their employees.
“There are countless stories of travel businesses—83 percent of which are small businesses—working hard to do right by their workers,” said Dow. “But the cold reality is they can’t support their employees if they don’t have any customers, and they don’t have any customers because of the actions needed to halt the spread of coronavirus. Millions of Americans shouldn’t have to lose their jobs by acting in the interest of public health.
“We’re witnessing the shutdown of travel,” he continued. “The economic effects of that are already disastrous, but could become worse and permanent unless the government acts now.”