Japan’s Olympics minister revealed Tuesday the contract for the 2020 Games states the events could be postponed until the end of the year to avoid any potential issues with the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
According to Reuters.com, Seiko Hashimoto told members of the Japanese Parliament the contract allows the games to take place in 2020, which could be the out the government needs to postpone the Olympic Games if needed without outright canceling them.
Hashimoto reiterated that Japan and host city Tokyo are committed to the Olympics scheduled to begin on July 24, but reminded officials the contract says the decision to cancel the 2020 Games belongs to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
ICO head Thomas Bach said Tuesday the organization is preparing for a “successful” Games in Tokyo. Any potential disruption of the Olympic Games would be devastating financially, as the events are expected to cost $12.51 billion.
Japan is working to stop the spread of the coronavirus by asking schools to close and encouraging events that attract large crowds to be canceled or rescheduled.
In February, the longest-serving member of the International Olympic Committee, Dick Pound, said the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo coronavirus-could-cancel-2020-tokyo-olympic-games.html” target=”_self” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>could be canceled if the coronavirus outbreak showed no sign of dissipating.
Delta Air Lines announced Tuesday it agreed to a $400 million sponsorship deal to partner with LA28, the organizing committee of the 2028 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
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Travel Industry Lauds Passage of Paycheck Protection Program Reform Bill
The U.S. Senate passed the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Flexibility Act on Wednesday, sending it to President Donald Trump’s desk for final approval.
The reform bill provides business owners with additional flexibility and more time to utilize loan money and still be forgiven under the PPP established to provide economic relief in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The travel industry has been quick to commend lawmakers. The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) is in full support having advocated for the improvements behind the scenes.
“We commend the Senate for passing the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (H.R. 7010), which would change PPP loan terms—in some cases retroactively—in a number of ways ASTA has advocated for, including five-year loan terms, reducing the requirement that 75 percent of the loan must go to payroll to get forgiveness, allowing forgivable expense over 24 weeks (as opposed to the current eight) and allowing companies to restore headcount without jeopardizing forgiveness by the end of the year (versus the current June 30),” Eben Peck, EVP Advocacy, ASTA, said in a statement.
“While the PPP will remain complex, this bill gives more flexibility to PPP recipients and increases the chances that loans can be fully forgiven,” Peck concluded.
The U.S. Travel Association also wasted no time praising the decision, calling it an “important step.”
“The PPP changes passed by both chambers are another important step in providing relief to small businesses that otherwise will not survive until the economic recovery phase,” added U.S. Travel’s Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes. “The modification to the portion of funds that can be used for non-payroll expenses is especially crucial to travel-related small businesses, which have comparatively high capital overhead but virtually zero incoming revenue because of the necessary measures in place to stem the spread of the pandemic.”
U.S. Travel still believes that there’s more work to be done to ensure a successful recovery. The organization is encouraging officials to extend PPP eligibility to non-profit and quasi-governmental entities responsible for driving local and regional economic development.
“Like the businesses they serve, the finances of these non-profits have been devastated by the standstill in travel and tourism, and the moment of recovery will be moot unless they can keep their lights on to take advantage of the return in travel demand,” Barnes stated. “We urge leaders to move urgently to enact the next phase of coronavirus response legislation, which is absolutely vital to the future of the travel and tourism industry, and to prioritize expanding eligibility to those most hard hit by this pandemic such as destination marketing organizations.”
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