WASHINGTON (August 19, 2020)—U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes issued the following statement on reports that both chambers of Congress may soon consider separate actions on coronavirus relief legislation:
“It is crucial that leaders in Washington return to the negotiating table immediately and continue the important work they started. Since March, more than half of the 15.8 million pre-pandemic jobs supported by the travel industry have disappeared, leaving workers and small businesses in every pocket of America vulnerable to the economic pain of this public health crisis.
“Underscoring the devastating effect this crisis has had on the industry’s jobs base is the fact that 34% of all job losses have been in the Leisure and Hospitality sector, though that sector accounted for just 11% of pre-pandemic jobs.
“Clearly, there can be no nationwide economic revival without a recovery of the travel industry. Despite the robust relief measures enacted over the past several months, huge numbers of travel businesses are still unable to access any of the assistance programs. The Paycheck Protection Program needs to be immediately extended and expanded to include destination marketing organizations, without which an economic recovery will be constricted before it even begins.
“Travel industry businesses and workers cannot wait until September or until after the election. Congress must come together immediately to pass meaningful legislation to provide relief, protection and stimulus to all segments of the travel industry.”