Last week, nearly 600 destination marketing organizations (DMOs) and convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs) joined together in sending a letter to congressional leaders with a clear message: expand Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) eligibility to ensure all 501(c) organizations receive adequate relief in the next coronavirus relief package.

The PPP provides loan forgiveness for payroll costs, group healthcare benefits and other operating expenses. While we are also seeking structural changes to the PPP, DMOs are currently ineligible for the PPP due to their organizational structure. It is important that these organizations can sustain themselves through the worst of this crisis and help power America’s economic recovery. The CARES Act was an ambitious first step, but much work remains to help businesses in the travel and tourism industry.

U.S. Travel sent a document to congressional leadership that outlines the recommended next steps. These include expanding PPP eligibility and increasing Economic Injury Disaster Loan funding, among several other provisions.

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The 15.8 million travel-related jobs in the U.S. are deeply dependent on the work of DMOs to bring the customers that fill restaurants, shops, hotels, meeting and event venues, and attractions. Through no fault of their own, these small businesses and their workers have been imperiled by the coronavirus. It is crucial that they receive the necessary resources to keep their lights on and their employees on the payroll through this crisis to the eventual recovery phase.

U.S. Travel is grateful to our members for uniting to deliver this critical message to Congress, and we will continue fighting to get support for all sectors of the travel industry.