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What The U.S. House of Representatives passed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package Feb. 27, and President Biden wants it approved by the Senate before March 14 — the date when current unemployment benefits are set to expire.
The U.S. Travel Association applauds many components of the bill, including how it gives more money to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and how it provides resources for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, airport funding and Economic Development Administration grants.
Bringing travel jobs back will require a holistic, comprehensive policy approach to shorten the recovery trajectory, and we are looking at this relief bill as one important step.
Tori Emerson Barnes, executive vice president for public affairs and policy for U.S. Travel, hopes that Congress also considers extending the PPP past March 31 and offering a third draw on loans for the hardest-hit businesses, including those in the travel industry. U.S. Travel is also calling on Congress to pass the Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act and to dedicate additional funding for travel promotion grants.
Why It MattersCurrent economic relief programs have just not cut it when it comes to protecting the livelihood of travel industry professionals, including travel advisors. According to the American Society of Travel Advisors, more than 70% of travel advisors will fail within the next six months, even with current relief programs, which highlights the need for more immediate travel industry-specific aid.
Future COVID-19 relief packages — such as this one — should include specific provisions for the travel industry, which has been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, and whose recovery is a key component of the revitalization of the overall U.S. economy.
What They Are Saying“Given the severity of the impact on the travel and tourism industry, more work remains to provide critical recovery and stimulus measures to safely restore our industry,” Emerson Barnes said. “The American travel industry lost half a trillion dollars and millions of jobs last year, and it is still far from clear when demand for travel will be able to return. Bringing travel jobs back will require a holistic, comprehensive policy approach to shorten the recovery trajectory, and we are looking at this relief bill as one important step.”
The DetailsU.S. Travel Associationwww.ustravel.org