Travel Coalition, Executives Call on Congress to Pass Relief Legislation

Last week week, a coalition of almost 200 travel, hotel, franchise, and state and local government groups called for Congress to not go on recess without providing relief for sectors devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, a group of 17 CEOS of the largest U.S. travel companies sent a statement to leaders in Washington, pleading to advance a subsequent round of legislative relief from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

“We are writing to implore you to reach a bipartisan deal on legislation to prevent catastrophic economic harm that would result if Congress does not pass additional emergency relief before adjourning for the election,” The COVID RELIEF NOW Coalition said in the letter. “Support for furloughed or laid off employees, critical infrastructure, small businesses, educational institutions, first responders, and all state and local governments that are addressing the ongoing public health and economic impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are priorities we strongly believe require an immediate and unified response from our federal government.”

The coalition includes groups like the American Society of Travel AdvisorsAirlines for America, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the U.S. Travel Association and others.

“Our employees, businesses, and constituents cannot wait for additional federal aid to come in December 2020 or March 2021,” the letter continues. “If Congress fails to act, millions of employees will be furloughed or terminated; millions of unemployed Americans will lose their unemployment insurance pandemic benefits; hundreds of thousands of companies will be at risk of closing their doors forever; and the vast majority of state and local governments will have to curtail critical services in order to balance budgets due to a decline in tax revenue.”

Separately, the travel executives—which included those from Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Delta, JetBlue, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, United Airlines, InterContinental Hotels Group, Sabre Corporation, Accor, Hilton, Marriott International, Loews Hotels & Co and more—urged “Congress and the administration to reach agreement before the election on a relief package that will give travel employers—and the millions of livelihoods they support—a fighting chance to survive.”

The statement adds: “We represent an industry that accounts for nearly 40 percent of all the U.S. jobs that have been lost to the coronavirus pandemic—an absolutely staggering figure. With travel spending in the U.S. projected to drop more than half a trillion dollars this year, travel employers—83 percent of which are classified as small businesses, including large numbers of our own franchisees—are struggling to keep their doors open. It is unknown when the health crisis will allow the situation to improve on its own.

“Major portions of the travel industry have been unable to access any of the previous rounds of coronavirus-related aid passed by Washington—and for those that have had some relief, it has not been equal to the magnitude of the challenge.”

While the statement says “comprehensive assistance measures are badly needed,” it notes that “at a bare minimum there is extreme urgency” for smaller packages that address the Paycheck Protection Program.

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