According to the figures released by US Travel Association, US business travel in 2020 only totaled $103.2 billion. That’s a 70% dip from 2019. In addition to this, 3 million tourism-related jobs were lost last year. Though air travel increased this month thanks to people having their spring break, it is not enough to keep everything afloat. CDC even reminded the public to avoid unnecessary travel even for those who are already vaccinated.
US Travel Pushes for Extension
US Travel is currently pushing to extend the deadline of applications for the Paycheck Protection Program from the end of March to May 31. According to Tori Emerson Barnes who is the executive vice president of public affairs and policy for US travel, “PPP is set to expire in just two weeks”.
Barnes also said that the “leisure and hospitality industry currently accounts for at nearly 40 percent of all US unemployment”. According to Barnes, “PPP is vital for travel employers to keep their lights on”.
Apart from the PPP, the group also wants the passage of the Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act. This was introduced in Congress last Feb 25 that would give a tax credit for those hosting a business meeting.
This effort by US Travel didn’t fall on deaf ears. Lawmakers are now pushing to extend the PPP loans. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H called it a “common-sense step to extend the deadline for PPP loans”. Shaheen added that “Congress must act to preserve this lifeline for small businesses trying to stay afloat”.
Barnes then replied that she is “hopeful for the PPP extension Act’s consideration and passage next week”.
What is the Paycheck Protection Program?
These are loans that can help businesses stay afloat during these hard times. According to the latest numbers from Small Business Administration (SBA), around 2.4 million PPP loans are already approved. That’s a total of $165 billion thanks to the COVID19 relief package last December. The CARES Act after being turned into law last March provided 5 million small employees a forgivable PPP loan to help support more than 50 million jobs.