WASHINGTON, D.C. — Coronavirus will cost the U.S. travel sector 4.6 million jobs by the end of April, according to an updated analysis released Wednesday by the U.S. Travel Association.
Earlier projections released by U.S. Travel foretold losses of $355 billion and 4.6 million travel-related jobs this year. But the latest data shows that $202 billion in direct travel spending and all 4.6 million jobs will disappear before May.
The numbers highlight the need for aggressive and immediate action by the federal government, travel leaders said. The non-airline travel sector is seeking $250 billion in disaster relief to avoid putting millions of Americans out of work.
“The news we have for policymakers and the public is very challenging: the 15.8 million American jobs supported by travel are directly in the crosshairs of the health crisis, and the only thing that’s going to protect them is aggressive financial relief right now,” said U.S. Travel President and CEO Roger Dow, who on Tuesday presented the economic impact projections and the travel industry’s relief request to President Trump and Vice President Pence at a White House meeting.
“There are countless stories of travel businesses—83 percent of which are small businesses—working hard to do right by their workers,” Dow continued. “But the cold reality is they can’t support their employees if they don’t have any customers, and they don’t have any customers because of the actions needed to halt the spread of coronavirus. Millions of Americans shouldn’t have to lose their jobs by acting in the interest of public health.
“We’re witnessing the shutdown of travel. The economic effects of that are already disastrous, but could become worse and permanent unless the government acts now.”
Relief measures requested by U.S. Travel on behalf of the industry include: establishing a $250 billion Travel Workforce Stabilization Fund to keep workers employed; providing an Emergency Liquidity Facility for travel businesses to remain operational; and bulking up and streamlining the SBA loan programs to support small businesses and their employees.