Travel spending drops 42 percent in 2020, trade group says

Travel spending drops 42 percent in 2020, trade group says
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Spending on travel in the U.S. fell by 42 percent in 2020 due to lockdowns and recommendations against travel spurred by the coronavirus pandemic, an industry trade group found.

The U.S. Travel Association released that Americans spent $1.5 trillion on travel in 2020, down from $2.6 trillion in 2019. The group found that travel lost $1.1 trillion in U.S. economic output overall last year. 

There were 5.6 million less jobs supported by the travel industry in 2020, and the year ended with 11.1 million jobs in the sector, down from 16.7 million in 2019.


Travel spending is not expected to fully return soon; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced recently it was not changing its travel recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated people. The CDC still recommends that all Americans still shouldn’t travel.

“While the gradual progress of vaccinations has provided hope that a turnaround may be on the horizon, it is still unclear when travel demand will be able to fully rebound on its own,” U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said in a statement.

Dow stressed that policymakers need to understand the importance of a travel recovery.

The industry did get a policy win on Tuesday when the House passed the PPP Extension Act, which would allow small businesses to apply for Paycheck Protection Program loans through the end of May. The bill passed 415-3 and now heads to the Senate.