WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow responded to the suspension of most air travel to and from Europe. In a statement, Dow said that the increased travel restrictions would compound the impact that coronavirus is having on the U.S. travel industry.
According to U.S. Travel Association economists, 850,000 international visitors flying from Europe (excluding the United Kingdom) entered the United States in March 2019, accounting for about 29 percent of total overseas arrivals to the United States and approximately $3.4 billion in spending.
Earlier this week, Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company, released a report on the potential economic impact of coronavirus, estimating that the second and third quarters of 2020 could see 6 million fewer international visitors and a loss of $19 billion in spending. The report came out before the announcement of European travel restrictions.
“In taking aggressive steps to protect the public against coronavirus, the U.S. government should now consider equally aggressive steps to protect America’s workforce and employers,” Dow said. “The public’s health is the top concern, but now the policy conversation must address the health of the economy.”
“Temporarily shutting off travel from Europe is going to exacerbate the already heavy impact of coronavirus on the travel industry and the 15.7 million Americans whose jobs depend on travel,” Dow continued. “We have and will continue to engage Congress and the administration on policy steps that are necessary to ensure that travel employers—83 percent of which are small businesses—can keep the lights on for their employees.”
In a call with press on Wednesday, Brian Crawford, executive vice president of government affairs for the American Hotel & Lodging Association, said that AHLA is working in partnership with the U.S. Travel Association to ask the administration to help small business owners and employees by ensuring access to capital and liquidity and is in talks with Congress on a potential economic stimulus package.