During the final hours of Oct. 16, the U.S. Congress and Senate agreed to pass a bill to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling, buying the country a few more months until the issues come to the table again in January and February. The end of the 16-day shutdown is a welcome resolution for the travel industry, which lost approximately $152 million per day in travel-related economic output while the federal government was closed.
“After 16 long days of uncertainty, the loss of $115.2 million in economic activity in the lodging industry, and billions of dollars more in lost collective income and visitor spending, hoteliers across America are grateful Congress and the President have finally come to the table and passed a bipartisan bill to end the government shutdown,” said Katherine Lugar, AH&LA president and CEO. “We urge policymakers to take these next few months to engage in a serious dialogue to find a meaningful and long-lasting solution to the fiscal issues still facing this country – solutions that will allow the lodging industry to continue its role as a major driver of economic growth and job creation.”
Though services such as security screening and air traffic control were largely unaffected by the shutdown, the closure of national parks and historic sites severely harmed the many local economies that depend upon visitors to those destinations.
During the shutdown, countries such as Germany, the U.K. and China—which together account for more than five million visitors to the U.S. annually—issued warnings to their citizens about possible shutdown-related problems and delays when traveling to and within the U.S. Roger Dow, president and CEO of U.S. Travel, warned that the shutdown likely will have long-term consequences for the United States’ brand in the competitive international travel market.
“Economies hate uncertainty,” Dow said. “Now that the shutdown has been concluded, the best thing our federal policymakers can do for our economy is to pursue a long-term fiscal plan that includes commitments to invest in our country’s aging travel infrastructure.”
Photo Credit: U.S. Capitol Building via Bigstock