A new report from the U.S. Travel Association says more than half of the 15.8 million travel-related jobs in the U.S. have disappeared since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that the 51 percent industry unemployment is more than twice the current overall national jobless rate of around 25 percent.
The new report, prepared for the association by the research firm Tourism Economics, also projected that domestic travel related spending for the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend would be only about 33 percent of last year’s total for the long weekend that kicks off summer of $12.3 billion.
“Travel-related businesses have been hit disproportionately hard by the pandemic’s fallout, and unfortunately our workforce is on the front lines of that struggle,” said Roger Dow, U.S. Travel Association president and CEO. “Not only are structural changes and expanded eligibility to the PPP critical for the most impacted travel businesses just to keep the lights on, but ultimately stimulus measures will be important.”
Though there is evidence of pent-up demand for travel, Dow added that the public should expect travel to look and feel different for the foreseeable future, as travel businesses embrace practices aimed at promoting the safest possible environment for their customers and employees.
In addition to calling for more direct federal assistance for travel industries and a strengthened federal testing and contact tracing program, the U.S. Travel Association and other travel and tourism groups have combined to produce “Travel in the New Normal” to provide health and safety guidance for travel businesses.