The U.S. Travel Association (USTA) called on Congress for additional help for the industry in its next stimulus package, including support for domestic airports, amid new data that shows Americans continue to be wary of travel as COVID-19 cases spike in many states.
The latest USTA poll found the percentage of Americans who say they will travel this fall has fallen from 50 percent in early June to 36 percent today.
The poll also found 58 percent of leisure travelers say they will substitute staycations for traditional vacations for the remainder of the year and that 74 percent of business travelers are more likely to substitute business meetings that require flying with virtual meetings.
In calling for additional federal assistance, USTA President and CEO Roger Dow said: “You name it, this industry and its workers need it. Travel businesses could not possibly have prepared for this level of catastrophe, and there’s no telling how many of the eight million jobs we’ve lost so far will remain gone for good without aggressive federal intervention to keep the industry on life support.”
The USTA request to Congress calls for extending the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) until the end of the year while also expanding eligibility to include destination marketing organizations (DMOs).
The group also wants Congress to provide up to $10 billion in federal grants to promote safe and healthy travel practices, provide temporary and targeted liability protections for travel businesses to reopen, provide temporary tax credits and deductions to Americans to encourage business travel, including conventions and trade shows, and support airports.
Dow also called on people to wear masks, saying, “It is so very clear that masks and other good health practices are absolutely critical to dissipating the health crisis and making an economic rebound possible. The country’s collective record on this needs to improve, or the pain will only go on.”