WASHINGTON, D.C. — The travel industry comprises a third of all the jobs lost in the United States and is experiencing an impact from coronavirus that is nine times greater than the impact on the industry following the 9/11 attacks, according to new data released by the U.S. Travel Association and the analytics firm Tourism Economics.
By the end of April, declines in travel will result in job loss of 8 million out of approximately 24 million for the entire U.S. economy, according to the report. Travel spending losses are on track to top half a trillion dollars by the end of 2020.
Last week, travel spending plunged to $2.9 billion—an 85 percent drop since the first week of March and 87 percent lower than the same week in 2019, according to a separate analysis by Tourism Economics. According to survey data from MMGY Travel Intelligence, 90 percent of travelers surveyed had some type of travel or travel-related activity planned prior to the COVID-19 outbreak and 80 percent of those either canceled or postponed those plans.
“The CARES Act was a good start, but the data shows there is still extreme and mounting pain in the American travel industry,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “We’re appealing for fixes, the addition of more relief, faster rules, and greater flexibility.”
Dow added that a central issue is the depletion of funds for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which reached its maximum loan volume appropriated under the CARES Act last week. “The relief program needs to fit the crisis, and we’re still learning the magnitude and intricacies of this particular crisis,” Dow said.
U.S. Travel has urged Congress to expand eligibility for the PPP to DMOs that are classified as 501(c)(6) non-profits or “political subdivisions” of their local governments, as well as to small businesses that operate multiple locations (with fewer than 500 employees per location); appropriate an additional $600 billion for the PPP and extend the coverage period through December 2020 (the PPP is currently slated to expire on June 30); and revise the PPP maximum loan calculation to eight times a business’ monthly outlays, and allow it to cover both payroll and non-payroll expenses (currently, the formula is 2.5 times).