The U.S. travel industry lost $1.1 trillion in 2020, shrinking 42 percent from $2.6 trillion to $1.5 trillion, according to a new report released this week from the U.S. Travel Association (USTA).
The USTA data, done by the research firm Tourism Economics, found that travel-supported jobs fell by 5.6 million last year, accounting for 65 percent of all American jobs lost to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The data will help bolster the traveler industry’s call for more government support, and comes as hundreds of industry leaders from across the country are meeting virtually with members of Congress for Destination Capitol Hill, the U.S. Travel Association’s annual legislative fly-in.
“While the gradual progress of vaccinations has provided hope that a turnaround may be on the horizon, it is still unclear when travel demand will be able to fully rebound on its own,” said Roger Dow, USTA president and CEO. “With the travel industry suffering such a disproportionate share of losses, policymakers need to understand that a nationwide economic recovery effectively hinges on a travel recovery.”
The USTA is calling on Congress for additional relief for travel industry businesses, stimulus measures to drive travel demand, helping the country encourage the return of international travel and promoting steps to safely restore business travel and events.
“The latest round of relief was helpful to our industry, but there are a number of important steps that still must be taken, especially extending the deadline for the Paycheck Protection Program and passing the key package of tax incentives in the Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act,” said Tori Emerson Barnes, USTA executive VP of public affairs and policy.