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WhatThe travel industry “will remain in depression long after a recovery begins,” according to U.S. Travel Association. Following a spike in COVID-19 infections, a new wave of coronavirus-related closures and new data suggesting that Americans are wary of traveling, U.S. Travel Association has submitted to Congress policy requests for the next coronavirus relief package.
The proposals all share the goal “to help travel employers survive the worst of the downturn.” Requests include extending the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) until the end of the year; providing up to $10 billion in federal grants to promote safe and healthy travel practice; and providing temporary and targeted liability protections for travel businesses to reopen, among others.
RELATED: The Travel Industry Is in a Depression
Why It MattersThe latest data from Destination Analysts shows that 36% of Americans will travel this fall (down from 50% in early June), while Harris Poll results show that 37% of Americans feel safe flying and 74% of business travelers will opt for virtual meetings this year. Without government support, it is hard to imagine how travel companies — including travel agencies — can possibly stay afloat. U.S. Travel Association’s self-proclaimed “big asks” are completely warranted.
Travel businesses could not possibly have prepared for this level of catastrophe, and there’s no telling how many of the 8 million jobs we’ve lost so far will remain gone for good without aggressive federal intervention to keep the industry on life support.
Fast Facts- Before the pandemic, one in 10 Americans held a job in the travel industry; since then, the industry has lost more than half of its 15.8 million jobs.
- According to Harris Poll, “more than three-quarters (77%) of respondents support states enacting mandatory 14-day quarantines for out-of-state travelers from states with a high resurgence of COVID-19.”
- U.S. Travel Association is also requesting that Congress "create temporary tax credits and deductions, including: a tax credit to encourage Americans to travel at the right time; a tax credit to restore activity in the business meetings and events sector, including conventions and trade shows; increase the deductibility of business and entertainment expenses; and a tax credit to help businesses of all sizes offset the cost of mitigating the spread of COVID-19, including the cost of structural barriers and personal protective equipment.”
- U.S. Travel Association is asking for assistance to airports, and to allow destination management organizations to receive PPP benefits. It is also requesting Congress to “enhance the Employee Retention Tax Credit to increase business’ ability to retain and rehire workers.”
- Read the full proposal by U.S. Travel here.
What They Are Saying “You name it, this industry and its workers need it,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of U.S. Travel Association. “Travel businesses could not possibly have prepared for this level of catastrophe, and there’s no telling how many of the 8 million jobs we’ve lost so far will remain gone for good without aggressive federal intervention to keep the industry on life support. Travel companies have worked hard to retain their workers, but most have had zero revenue coming in for four months now, and if they’re forced to close they won’t be around to rehire anybody even when travel is able to resume. Our asks of Congress are big because the problem is massive, and is only growing right before our eyes.”
The DetailsU.S. Travel Associationwww.ustravel.org