Tourism industry calls for $300B in relief in coronavirus stimulus package
Thousands of travel organizations have teamed up on a letter calling on lawmakers to give the industry $300 billion in federal aid as the Senate negotiates a third coronavirus relief bill.
The letter was signed by 6,000 groups, including the U.S. Travel Association and organizations in transportation, lodging, recreation and entertainment, food and beverage, meetings, conferences and business events, travel advising and destination marketing.
The groups are calling for the third coronavirus stimulus bill to include $300 billion for enhanced Small Business Administration (SBA) loans to the industry.
The U.S. Travel Association and the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) had called for $150 billion in grants on Tuesday, but the new letter asks for increasing that loan amount as well as more financial assistance for severely impacted businesses through unsecured loans and loan guarantees.
Also, it seeks at least $10 billion in airport grants to pay debt service and maintain operations.
“Together we are grappling with the immediate and devastating impact of the current health crisis. Furloughs of American travel workers are happening right now. Travel to and within the United States has essentially ground to a stop due to the actions needed to halt the spread of coronavirus,” the groups wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
The industry predicts it will cut 4.6 million jobs in the next six weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Unfortunately, the unprecedented shutdown of the travel economy requires an even greater and more aggressive response to prevent millions of Americans from losing their jobs,” the groups wrote.
Aviation groups, including Airlines for America also wrote to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and congressional leadership, requesting immediate action because their current economic environment is not sustainable.
The airline industry requested $50 billion in federal assistance in the form of grants, loans and tax relief.