We all know that the COVID-19 pandemic was harrowing for the travel industry last year. But now, nearly four months into 2021, we are finding out the full extent of the damage.
The latest end-of-year totals from Tourism Economics paint a grim picture of job losses in 2020, with the final numbers revealing that the travel industry shrank 42% last year, with travel-related jobs falling by 5.6 million (making up 65% of all American jobs lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
The huge loss represents some $1.1 trillion, and, according to Roger Dow, president and CEO of U.S. Travel Association, it remains “unclear when travel demand will be able to fully rebound on its own.”
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This news comes on the heels of Congress’ latest $1.9 trillion relief bill, which was passed by President Biden earlier this month in an attempt to provide much-needed relief for struggling businesses.
The latest round of relief was helpful to our industry, but there are a number of important steps that still must be taken.
“The latest round of relief was helpful to our industry, but there are a number of important steps that still must be taken, especially extending the deadline for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and passing the key package of tax incentives in the Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act,” said Tori Emerson Barnes, executive vice president of public affairs and policy for U.S. Travel. “The PPP is set to expire in just two weeks, yet the economic effects of the pandemic will continue to harm the industry far beyond that point.”
Specific bills backed by travel industry businesses and organizations include the Paycheck Protection Program Extension Act of 2021 and the Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act of 2021.
U.S. Travel Association