Earlier today, the U.S. Travel Association united with over 6,000 members of the travel industry and tourism-related organizations in issuing a joint letter to congressional leadership—including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader Charles Schumer and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy—urgently requesting immediate and substantial financial relief in light of the COVID-19 crisis.
Signees consisted of organizations operating in such diverse areas as entertainment, food and beverage, recreation, lodging, transportation; meetings, conferences and business events; travel advising and destination marketing, and which represent businesses that currently support 15.8 million jobs.
Forced to effectively shut down, due to efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, the U.S. travel industry is predicted to lose 4.6 million jobs within the next six weeks, says new research by Tourism Economics conducted on behalf of U.S. Travel.
“Time is of the essence,” said U.S. Travel President and CEO. Roger Dow, in a statement. “Through no fault of their own, millions of American workers will lose their jobs in the coming weeks. Congress must act now to ensure these businesses and workers can sustain themselves through this crisis, and are able to help power America’s economic recovery when the worst is behind us.”
The letter applauds provisions outlined in the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act”, such as an intended $300 billion for enhanced Small Business Administration (SBA) loans and tax relief to mitigate economic losses. But, because of the scope of economic injuries already being sustained by the travel sector, which will likely continue into the foreseeable future, it also argues that even more aggressive measures are called for.
U.S. Travel and the 6,000 signees are calling upon Washington to take immediate action by including its recommended measures in its “Phase III” coronavirus emergency relief package:
—Provide $150 billion in grants to travel-dependent businesses to maintain employment at pre-coronavirus levels.
—Provide greater financial assistance to severely impacted businesses by increasing the aggregate loan amount for severely distressed industries above $150 billion, and providing assistance through unsecured loans and loan guarantees.
—Provide at least $10 billion in airport grants to maintain operations, provide critical services and generally support the entire aviation ecosystem that powers commercial air travel.