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The U.S. Travel Association is making its voice heard on Capitol Hill (virtually, at least) just as newly released travel data forecasts a bleak industry outlook for the remainder of 2020.
Total travel spending will decline by 45% by the end of the year, with domestic spend dipping 40% and international spend plummeting 75%, according to Tourism Economics’ June 2020 travel forecast, prepared for U.S. Travel.
These predictions — made for a year where the industry has already lost 51% of its jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic — follows multiple years of single-digit industry growth. And although interest in domestic travel is on the upswing, the total number of domestic trips taken in 2020 is still set to fall 30%, dipping to its lowest point since 1991 (also a recession year).
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As a result, the U.S. Travel Association is pushing for swift action and support from federal lawmakers to help the struggling industry during its first “Virtual Hill Week,” which began June 15 and will continue through June 19. The event aims to connect nearly 300 travel industry members with lawmakers in the Senate and the House of Representatives in a series of 75 online meetings.
“Our asks for lawmakers are substantial, but they’re also simple: We need relief, protection and stimulus for the travel industry to make it past the worst of the crisis and help power an economic recovery,” said Tori Emerson Barnes, executive vice president for public affairs and policy for the U.S. Travel Association.
Our asks for lawmakers are substantial, but they’re also simple: We need relief, protection and stimulus for the travel industry to make it past the worst of the crisis and help power an economic recovery.
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Travel industry members participating in Virtual Hill Week are outlining the following priorities, among others:
- Extend and improve the CARES Act relief initiatives, which includes expanding the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to include destination marketing organizations
- Provide tax incentives in the form of temporary travel tax credits; tax credits for personal protective equipment (PPE); tax measures to revitalize the meetings and events sector; and more
- Protect travel businesses facing pandemic-related lawsuits if they are following proper health and safety guidelines
- Issue pandemic risk insurance — with a federal backstop — to cover companies in the case of future outbreaks
- Enhance the federal government’s role in coronavirus testing, research, contact tracing and more with additional federal funding.
"The data is telling us that travel and tourism has been more severely damaged than any other U.S. industry by the economic fallout of the health crisis," Emerson Barnes said. "Given that travel employed one in 10 Americans and was the No. 2 U.S. export before the pandemic, supporting this industry through to the recovery phase ought to be a national priority.”
The DetailsThe U.S. Travel Associationwww.ustravel.org