The U.S. travel industry has submitted a new list of policy requests to Congress as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the industry, the U.S. Travel Association announced on Friday.
The policy measures proposed include adding $600 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and extending the coverage period through the end of the year.
U.S. Travel also wants lawmakers to expand eligibility for the PPP to local and regional destination marketing organizations (DMOs) as well as small businesses with fewer than 500 employees operating in multiple locations.
Plus, the organization is pushing for Congress to revise the PPP maximum loan calculation to eight times a business’ monthly outlays compared to just 2.5 and allow it to cover both payroll and non-payroll expenses; provide loan forgiveness to large businesses under the Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF) and increase Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) funding to $50 billion.
“The CARES Act was an ambitious step, but now the urgent problem is that assistance is simply not getting where it needs to go,” said U.S. Travel President and CEO Roger Dow in a statement. “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.”
“Congress must move swiftly to correct and supplement the CARES Act with additional rounds of aid,” he added. “Travel-related small businesses will be vital leaders of an economic recovery, but first they need to survive until the point when travel demand returns. In order to make it, these businesses need to be able to access the resources that will enable them to keep the lights on and retain their employees.”
The travel industry—83% of which are #SmallBiz—was one of the first impacted by the cancellations and closures from coronavirus. But many travel businesses do NOT have access to the #PaycheckProtectionProgram. Eligibility MUST be extended President @realDonaldTrump. https://t.co/n397w08F6c
Citing figures from analytics firm Tourism Economics, U.S. Travel points out that weekly travel spending in the U.S. has fallen a dramatic 85 percent compared to the same period one year ago, which could mean as many as 5.9 million travel-related jobs lost by the end of April.
Earlier this week, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci expressed cautious optimism that travel could return in time for summer.
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