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U.S. Travel Industry Needs Immediate Aid

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A staggering $360 billion—or $2 billion per day—has been drained from the overall U.S. economy since March as a result of decreased travel demand due to the pandemic.

Travel spending continued its anemic performance during the week ending August 29th, registering less than 1% growth. Weekly travel spending ticked upward to 57% of last year’s level – the highest level seen since the week ending March 14th. National weekly travel spending tallied $13.0 billion – slightly ahead of last week. Air travel continues to struggle, contracting from the previous week to less than 29% of its 2019 level. Car trips also saw a drop from the previous week, falling from 87% of 2019 levels to 72%. These are the recent finding at the new research prepared by Tourism Economics.

The devastation has wiped out half of all travel-supported U.S. jobs—which prior to COVID-19 had provided employment for one in 10 Americans—between the onset of the pandemic and May 1.

To restore these lost jobs and spur an economic recovery, U.S. Travel is calling on the U.S. Senate to quickly pass its newly introduced relief bill, which includes the enhancement and expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program to provide critical aid to destination marketing organizations.

“It’s clear that travel jobs—which were by far the hardest-hit of any sector—won’t recover on their own,” said U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Policy Tori Barnes. “The ‘skinny’ relief bill moving through the Senate has good components, and we’re urging Congress to recognize that substantial and immediate aid for travel employers is really vital for the entire U.S. job market.

“Many travel employers were left out of earlier rounds of legislative relief, and Congress must work quickly to ensure these businesses can continue to operate and help power an economic recovery in every corner of America.”

August has recorded $42.1 billion in travel spending losses through the 29th. With only two days left, August is on pace to close the month with $45 billion in travel spending losses.

The travel industry is advocating for a number of other legislative priorities to be included in a final relief package, and urges Congress and the administration to quickly come together on a deal that provides relief, protection and stimulus to all sectors of the travel industry.

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