Groups Ask for Federal Aid to Restore and Grow U.S. Travel Industry
In a January 19 letter, hundreds of travel-related organizations, including ASAE, asked congressional leadership to take immediate action on federal policies that would accelerate the return of business and international travel demand.
More than 600 travel industry organizations, including ASAE, signed on to a letter [PDF] urging lawmakers to take action on near-term federal policies to restore and grow the U.S. travel industry.
The letter, organized by the U.S. Travel Association, points out that the COVID-19 pandemic has cost the travel industry over $730 billion in lost spending since March 2020. After showing signs of recovery last year, travel-related businesses are facing renewed hardship now as the omicron variant continues to disrupt the economy.
“Tourism Economics forecasts that without targeted federal policies to accelerate the return of business and international travel demand, both of these vital segments will not fully recover to 2019 levels until at least 2024,” stated the letter.
Among the policies needed to restore lost jobs, reinvigorate businesses and communities, and ensure a full recovery across all sectors of the travel industry are: passing the Restoring Brand USA Act, which transfers $250 million in surplus revenue from the Travel Promotion Fund to restore Brand USA’s budget and support its work to bring back international visitors to the U.S.; provide temporary tax credits and deductions, such as those proposed in the Hospitality and Commerce Jobs Recovery Act, that would stimulate spending and quicken the pace of recovery for business travel, conferences, live entertainment; and other in-person events; and provide additional funding for relief grants to severely affected travel businesses by expanding eligibility for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
“As the COVID pandemic continues to impact the travel industry, providing additional federal relief and stabilizing policies will help all sectors of travel build an even recovery,” said U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes in a press release. “Congress should enact these priorities as quickly as possible to enable the return of business travel and professional meetings and events, in addition to the international inbound travel segment.”
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