WASHINGTON, D.C. — Travel’s economic footprint in the United States shrank 42 percent last year, from $2.6 trillion to $1.5 trillion, according to new end-of-year totals prepared for the U.S. Travel Association by the research firm Tourism Economics.
Tourism Economics also found that travel-supported jobs fell by 5.6 million in 2020 (from 16.7 million to 11.1 million), accounting for 65 percent of all U.S. jobs lost to the economic fallout of the pandemic. Travel and tourism had supported employment for 11 percent of the U.S. workforce prior to the onset of COVID-19.
The U.S. Travel Association released the new data on Wednesday as industry leaders from across the country meet virtually with members of Congress as part of “Destination Capitol Hill,” the association’s annual legislative fly-in.
“While the gradual progress of vaccinations has provided hope that a turnaround may be on the horizon, it is still unclear when travel demand will be able to fully rebound on its own,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO, U.S. Travel Association. “With the travel industry suffering such a disproportionate share of losses, policymakers need to understand that a nationwide economic recovery effectively hinges on a travel recovery.”
The nearly 300 virtual meetings between industry leaders and members of Congress focused on measures to provide relief for travel industry businesses; advance stimulus measures to drive travel demand; position the U.S. to welcome back international travel; and safely restore business travel, meetings, and events.
“The latest round of relief was helpful to our industry, but there are a number of important steps that still must be taken, especially extending the deadline for the Paycheck Protection Program and passing the key package of tax incentives in the Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act,” said Tori Emerson Barnes, executive vice president of public affairs and policy, U.S. Travel Association. “The PPP is set to expire in just two weeks, yet the economic effects of the pandemic will continue to harm the industry far beyond that point.”
Specific bills for which the industry is advocating include the Paycheck Protection Program Extension Act of 2021 and the Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act of 2021.