WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. travel industry, including the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), and the U.S. Travel Association, on Friday submitted an updated list of policy requests to Congress, including adding $600 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and expanding eligibility to small businesses that were previously left out, and ensuring loan forgiveness can cover both payroll and other operating expenses during the shutdown.
The latest economic data indicates that travel in the United States will have a long recovery—weekly travel spending in the U.S. has fallen 85 percent from the same point a year ago, according to figures prepared for U.S. Travel by the analytics firm Tourism Economics. That puts the economy on pace to lose 5.9 million travel-related jobs by the end of April, as had been predicted earlier—more than a third of the travel-supported workforce.
The proposed policy measures include new relief as well as some corrections to the provisions of the CARES Act, and include:
- Expand eligibility for the Payroll Protection Program (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 (fewer than 500 employees) that operate multiple locations.
- 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.
- Revise the PPP maximum loan calculation from 2.5x to 8x a business’ monthly outlays, and allow it to cover both payroll and non-payroll expenses.
- Provide loan forgiveness to large businesses under the Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF), rather than just loan guarantees, and clarify ESF eligibility for 501(c)(6) non-profits.
- Increase Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) funding to $50 billion, raise the loan cap from $500,000 to $10 million, and allow a second EIDL if a business is still unable to meet its ordinary expenses.