WASHINGTON, D.C. ─ Last Friday, more than 6,000 travel industry and related organizations sent a joint letter to congressional leadership requesting aggressive and immediate financial relief in light of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The signees — which include organizations in transportation, lodging, recreation and entertainment, food and beverage, meetings, conferences and business events, travel advising and destination marketing — represent businesses supporting 15.8 million American jobs.
The U.S. travel industry is predicted to lose 4.6 million of those jobs in the next six weeks because of the virtual shutdown of travel caused by coronavirus, according to research prepared for U.S. Travel Association by Tourism Economics. The numbers highlight the need for urgent action by the federal government.
U.S. Travel Association and the 6,000 signees are asking Congress to include the following measures in its “Phase III” coronavirus emergency-relief package:
• $150 billion in travel-employment grants: Through the U.S. Department of Treasury, provide $150 billion in grants to travel-dependent businesses to maintain employment at pre-coronavirus levels.
• Provide greater financial assistance to severely impacted businesses by increasing the aggregate loan amount for severely distressed industries above $150 billion and providing the assistance through unsecured loans and loan guarantees.
• Provide at least $10 billion in airport grants to pay debt service, maintain operations and provide critical services, along with ensuring additional support for airport businesses and essential aviation service providers. The entire aviation ecosystem that powers commercial air travel must be supported.
“Time is of the essence,” said U.S. Travel president and CEO Roger Dow. “Through no fault of their own, millions of American workers will lose their jobs in the coming weeks. Congress must act now to ensure these businesses and workers can sustain themselves through this crisis and are able to help power America’s economic recovery when the worst is behind us.”