Hotels: Shutdown freezing travel

Major hotel chains are imploring Washington to end the government shutdown before more people cancel their vacation plans.

In a letter sent Thursday to President Obama as well as House and Senate lawmakers, the American Hotel & Lodging Association wrote that it “respectfully urge[s] Congress and the President to reach an immediate agreement to fund the government and establish a degree of economic certainty to allow for continued growth.”

Signatories on the letter includes Best Western International, Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts and Marriott International, along with several state lodging associations.

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In the letter, the trade group estimates that hotels are losing $8 million per day during the shutdown, while communities near national parks are losing $76 million a day in visitor spending. The group said many people are canceling trips to national parks, while international travelers are not coming due to confusion over whether visitors can enter and leave the United States.

“In short, the government shutdown is increasingly impairing the lodging industry’s ability to hire, grow, and contribute to the economy,” said the letter.

The trade group also said that “it is imperative that Congress and the President act now to address the fast-approaching deadline to raise the U.S. debt limit, or else risk default and further economic damage.”

Businesses are worried that if America falls into default, markets will go haywire and the country will enter into an economic recession.

In a separate statement, Katherine Lugar, the association’s president and CEO, said the industry has been hampered by “inaction” in Washington.

“Hoteliers are a major economic driver and job creator across the country, and the industry’s ability to continue its growth is hamstrung by inaction from our policymakers. The administration, House of Representatives, and Senate need to act swiftly in the best interests of the entire nation and end this shutdown,” Lugar said.

Business groups like American Hotel & Lodging Association have grown more frustrated as the government shutdown lingers on and the deadline to lift the debt ceiling grows closer.

On Wednesday, the National Retail Federation called on lawmakers to end the shutdown and lift the debt ceiling. That followed similar pleas from the U.S Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.