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Travel industry presses Congress for $600B boost to small-business loans

Travel industry presses Congress for $600B boost to small-business loans
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The travel industry is urging Congress to add $600 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to further help struggling small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The U.S. Travel Association also on Friday called for Congress to expand eligibility to small businesses so that local and regional destination marketing organizations can receive PPP loans and ensure that loan forgiveness can cover both payroll and other operating expenses.

The Senate and administration are negotiating a deal to provide an additional $250 billion to the $349 billion program, for which the Treasury Department and Small Business Administration (SBA) rolled out applications last week.  

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“The CARES Act was an ambitious step, but now the urgent problem is that assistance is simply not getting where it needs to go,” U.S. Travel Association CEO Roger Dow said in a statement, referring to the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package. “Major adjustments and more aid are needed immediately to support small businesses, including local non-profits that are essential engines of the travel economy that employs one in 10 Americans.” 

Additionally, the group is asking for the PPP coverage period to expire at the end of 2020, as opposed to the current date of June 30, loan forgiveness to large businesses and increased Economic Injury Disaster Loan funding, among other issues. 

The U.S. Travel Association led a coalition of 600 domestic marketing organizations on a letter to congressional leadership Wednesday, pleading for them to be eligible for PPP loans.

The restaurant industry, led by the National Restaurant Association, is also calling on Congress to make changes to PPP, including revised loan restrictions so that restaurants can spend 50 percent or more of the loans on nonpayroll expenses, as opposed to the 25 percent mandated currently.