The coronavirus (COVID-19) will cost the U.S. travel sector 4.6 million jobs by the end of April, according to updated analysis released Wednesday by the U.S. Travel Association.
The trade group predicts that $202 billion in direct travel spending will also disappear before May. The non-airline travel sector is seeking $250 billion in disaster relief.
“The news we have for policymakers and the public is very challenging: the 15.8 million American jobs supported by travel are directly in the crosshairs of the health crisis, and the only thing that’s going to protect them is aggressive financial relief right now,” said U.S. Travel President and CEO Roger Dow, who on Tuesday presented the economic impact projections and the travel industry’s relief request to President Trump and Vice President Pence at a White House meeting.
Dow continued: “There are countless stories of travel businesses—83 percent of which are small businesses—working hard to do right by their workers. But the cold reality is they can’t support their employees if they don’t have any customers, and they don’t have any customers because of the actions needed to halt the spread of coronavirus. Millions of Americans shouldn’t have to lose their jobs by acting in the interest of public health.
“We’re witnessing the shutdown of travel. The economic effects of that are already disastrous, but could become worse and permanent unless the government acts now.”