The U.S. Travel Association said the nation’s economy will not recover until Congress takes steps to help the travel industry recover first. However, the latest round of federal stimulus failed a vote in the Senate last week.

THE U.S. TRAVEL industry lost more than half the 15.8 million jobs it supported before the COVID-19 pandemic and if the sector does not recover that could pose a danger to the recovery of the overall economy, according to the U.S. Travel Association. USTA has listed specific steps Congress must take to avoid this.

The nation’s economy could lose more than $505 billion in travel spending this year, USTA said. Despite the defeat last week in the Senate of the latest attempt at a federal stimulus program, USTA is urging Congress to take the following steps to save the industry.

  • To provide long-term relief until recovery is possible, expand the Paycheck Protection Program to include Destination Marketing Organizations, extend the program to the end of the year and allow a second draw on PPP. Alternatively, create other solutions such as long-term, low interest loans for the hardest-hit industries.
  • Provide up to $10 billion in in federal grants to promote safe and healthy travel practices.
  • Provide limited, temporary and immediate safe harbor for businesses that follow proper health and safety guidelines.
  • Create temporary tax credits and deductions.
  • Develop a national strategy to expand COVID-19 testing by enacting the Timely and Effective Systematic Testing (TEST) Act that would create a plan for diagnostic testing for COVID-19.
  • Provide additional emergency assistance to U.S. airports.

“An economic revival will not happen on its own, and it will not happen without the small businesses that contribute so much to the American economy,” USTA said. “Immediate, targeted and substantial relief will be needed to restore lost travel industry jobs and put our nation on the path to recovery.”