U.S. Travel Pushes for Relief for Destination Marketing Organizations

April 21, 2020

One-third of all jobs lost in the U.S. due to COVID-19 were lost in the travel industry, and the country is experiencing a total impact nine times greater than the 9/11 attacks, according to a new report by the U.S. Travel Association and analytics firm Tourism Economics.

Declines in travel are projected to cause 8 million jobs to be lost (out of 24 million for the entire U.S. economy) by the end of this month, according to the report. Travel spending losses are also on track to top half a trillion dollars by the end of 2020.

While the news is devastating from all angles, industry organizations are working hard to bring relief. For example, U.S. Travel is urging Congress to take the following actions:

Appropriate an additional $600 billion for the Payment Protection Program and extend the coverage period through December 2020.

The PPP is currently slated to expire on June 30. The economy will not realistically be in recovery by then, according to U.S. Travel officials, and the initial round of funding is expected to run out in just a few weeks.

Revise the PPP maximum loan calculation to 8x a business' monthly outlays, and allow it to cover both payroll and non-payroll expenses.

Currently the formula is 2.5x and covers payroll only, not other expenses — inadequate for immediate needs.

Expand eligibility for the PPP.

They are seeing to expand eligibility to DMOs that are classified as 501(c)(6) non-profits or "political subdivisions" of their local governments, as well as to small businesses that operate multiple locations (with fewer than 500 employees per location).

 

Destination marketing organizations are a key focus for U.S. Travel. Last week, more than 80 U.S. House members from both sides of the political aisle signed onto a letter urging congressional leaders to provide relief for DMOs whose funding has been crippled by the coronavirus crisis.

This effort is greatly needed, as many DMOs were unintentionally left ineligible for coronavirus relief funding under the PPP because of their non-profit or quasi-governmental status. Industry officials agree these organizations will be critical in driving convention, meeting and visitor traffic back into their respective destinations once the worst of the health crisis is behind us.

“Travel simply will not be adequately prepared to help lead the recovery without the work of destination marketers, which are critical engines of economic development in their states, cities and regions,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow.

Read more about U.S. Travel’s efforts to enhance PPP here.

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