Mar 18, 2020
Workers and Small Businesses Are the Backbone of the Travel Industry. They Need Relief Now.
Yesterday, fellow travel industry leaders joined me at the White House to deliver a critical message to President Trump, Vice President Pence and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross: travel industry workers and travel businesses—83% of which are small businesses—need relief from the coronavirus disaster, and they need it now.
The latest economic impact numbers—prepared for the U.S. Travel Association by Tourism Economics—underscore the urgency in getting workers the aid they so desperately need: decreased travel due to coronavirus will inflict an $809 billion total hit on the U.S. economy and eliminate 4.6 million travel-related American jobs this year.
We are all feeling the hit from this dire situation, but it is the workers on the lower rungs of the economic ladder who will suffer the most.
These are the people on the front lines of our industry, the faces we all know: the housekeepers, restaurant workers and tour guides. Travel businesses need to be able to pay their workers—the people that power the U.S. travel industry and make it so vibrant and welcoming—to sustain their livelihoods.
This situation is without precedent, and it will take aggressive, comprehensive action to ensure workers and businesses can make it through this critically difficult period. To that end, I have asked Congress and the administration to consider $250 billion in overall relief for the broader travel sector.
In our meeting in the Roosevelt Room, President Trump expressed his appreciation to our group for representing the interests of American workers and stated his commitment to our industry.
“We know that your industry is among the hardest hit by the economic impact of the virus," said President Trump. “Our goal is to beat the virus, and we will—we call it the hidden virus, the hidden enemy—with aggressive action now so that we can rebound stronger than ever before, and that's what we're doing."
We are grateful to the administration for its consideration of a relief package, and we will remain in close contact with the White House to inform their understanding of the mounting and severe burden on the most vulnerable travel industry workers and businesses.