U.S. Travel Applauds COVID Relief Package
March 12, 2021 By Tori Emerson Barnes, Executive Vice President, Public Affairs and Policy, U.S. Travel Association
Additional provisions will be needed to support travel industry businesses and stimulate travel demand.
On Thursday, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 into law. The $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package includes much-needed federal assistance and substantial support to aid our industry’s recovery:
- $350 billion to states and local governments, with explicit authority given to allow funds to aid the travel and tourism industry
- $3 billion for Economic Development Administration grants, with 25% ($750 million) set aside for communities affected by job loss in travel and tourism
- Extends the Employee Retention Tax Credit through the end of 2021 and adds enhancements for businesses experiencing at least a 90% decline in revenue
- $8 billion in grants for airports with an $800 million set-aside for airport concessionaires
- $15 billion to airlines through the Payroll Support Program
- Ensures that eligible applicants for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program can access both SVOG and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
- $7.25 billion to the PPP and allows larger nonprofits to qualify
- $12.7 billion for a national vaccination program, which creates community inoculation centers nationwide along with mobile units for hard-to-reach areas
- $50 billion to improve testing and contract tracing capabilities
While we are highly supportive of the latest COVID recovery package and the critical relief it provides, several additional, much-needed provisions are not included. We are calling on Congress to:
- Extend the PPP deadline through June 30 and provide a third draw loan for the hardest-hit industries. The PPP is set to expire in just three weeks with ample funds still available. Travel businesses of all sizes still need access to the loans the program provides to keep their doors open and staff employed until a travel recovery can truly take hold. The Paycheck Protection Program Extension Act of 2021, which U.S. Travel supports, would push the deadline for PPP fund applications to May 31.
- Pass the Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act. This legislation would accelerate rehiring and stimulate travel demand through temporary tax credits.
We will be sharing these asks directly with members of Congress on March 17 during Destination Capitol Hill and calling on our industry to activate in the near term as we advance our collective priorities.
To all of our partners across the industry: thank you for your support and engagement as we work to secure additional relief, as well as the stimulus needed to spur travel demand. Together, we will revive our vibrant industry, help rebuild the U.S. economy and put Americans back to work.
You can find a more comprehensive summary of all travel-related provisions here. A summary of the full bill can be found here.
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