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The U.S. Travel Association released new data showing that the travel industry’s unemployment rate has reached 51% ahead of Memorial Day. In comparison, the U.S. unemployment rate during the Great Depression was 25%.
“Our national economy is in a recession, but the travel industry is already in a depression," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of U.S. Travel Association. "Travel-related businesses have been hit disproportionately hard by the pandemic's fallout, and unfortunately our workforce is on the front lines of that struggle.
More than half of the industry’s 15.8 million jobs have been wiped out in the U.S. due to the COVID-19 crisis. Travel-related job losses represent 38% of all job losses through April — nearly 10 million Americans.
Our national economy is in a recession, but the travel industry is already in a depression.
Compiled by firm Tourism Economics, the research suggests that travel spending in the U.S. will reach $4.2 billion this year, a third of last year’s levels ($12.3 billion in 2019).
"The travel industry has exhibited the ability to lead a national economic recovery, bouncing back well ahead of expectations after both 9/11 and the financial crisis of the late 2000s," Dow said. "But to do that this time, travel-reliant businesses need to survive until a recovery can truly begin. Not only are structural changes and expanded eligibility to the PPP critical for the most impacted travel businesses just to keep the lights on, but ultimately stimulative measures will be important."
One bright spot Dow points to is reported pent-up demand for travel. Though travel in the short term will look different, U.S. Travel Association has proactively published its “Travel in the New Normal” health and safety guidelines for tourism businesses.
"Whatever government and health authorities decide about the right timing to reopen, we are giving consumers confidence that the travel ecosystem is embracing the most vigorous and well-informed practices for providing the safest possible environment, and those practices adhere to a uniform high standard throughout every phase of a traveler's journey," Dow said.
The DetailsU.S. Travel Associationwww.ustravel.org