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Over 6,000 Travel Orgs Unite in an Urgent Plea to Congress

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Earlier today, the U.S. Travel Association united with over 6,000 members of the travel industry and tourism-related organizations in issuing a joint letter to congressional leadership—including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader Charles Schumer and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy—urgently requesting immediate and substantial financial relief in light of the coronavirus-outbreak” target=”_self” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>COVID-19 crisis.

Signees consisted of organizations operating in such diverse areas as entertainment, food and beverage, recreation, lodging, transportation; meetings, conferences and business events; travel advising and destination marketing, and which represent businesses that currently support 15.8 million jobs.

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Forced to effectively shut down, due to efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, the U.S. travel industry is predicted to lose 4.6 million jobs within the next six weeks, says new research by Tourism Economics conducted on behalf of U.S. Travel.

“Time is of the essence,” said U.S. Travel President and CEO. Roger Dow, in a statement. “Through no fault of their own, millions of American workers will lose their jobs in the coming weeks. Congress must act now to ensure these businesses and workers can sustain themselves through this crisis, and are able to help power America’s economic recovery when the worst is behind us.”

The letter applauds provisions outlined in the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act”, such as an intended $300 billion for enhanced Small Business Administration (SBA) loans and tax relief to mitigate economic losses. But, because of the scope of economic injuries already being sustained by the travel sector, which will likely continue into the foreseeable future, it also argues that even more aggressive measures are called for.

U.S. Travel and the 6,000 signees are calling upon Washington to take immediate action by including its recommended measures in its “Phase III” coronavirus emergency relief package:

Provide $150 billion in grants to travel-dependent businesses to maintain employment at pre-coronavirus levels.

Provide greater financial assistance to severely impacted businesses by increasing the aggregate loan amount for severely distressed industries above $150 billion, and providing assistance through unsecured loans and loan guarantees.

Provide at least $10 billion in airport grants to maintain operations, provide critical services and generally support the entire aviation ecosystem that powers commercial air travel.

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WTTC Unveils Safe Travels Protocols for Airlines, Tour Operators and More

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The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has unveiled a new round of safety measures aimed at airlines, airports, tour operators and meeting and event organizers in an effort to propel the post-COVID-19 recovery.

WTTC previously released its Safe Travels protocols for the hospitality sector as well as outdoor retail businesses.

Developed following close consultation with WTTC members such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Emirates Group and Etihad, among others, guidance for the aviation industry includes enhanced cleaning procedures, personal protective equipment (PPE) and retraining for staff, signage to limit interaction and queuing at touchpoints and the implementation of more contactless processes.

WTTC is also recommending that airlines limit movement within the cabin as much as possible by boarding passengers from the back of the plane to the front and from the window seats out to the aisle seats.

“COVID-19 is a gamechanger for the travel and tourism sector, requiring us to enhance our approach to health and safety to protect our travelers and workforce,” said Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO at IATA, in a statement. “Aviation is the business of freedom and it is vital to enable its restart on a safe basis. IATA is delighted to lend its framework and collaborate with WTTC on the Aviation Protocols as part of its Safe Travels initiative. This is an excellent example of the industry solidarity and cooperation that will be so vital to ensuring a strong recovery for travel and tourism.”

Meanwhile, tour operators are being asked to enhance disinfection and deep cleaning practices for coaches and other vehicles as well as to roll out pre-allocated seating plans with no rotation and explore staggered timing for access to venues, hotels and restaurants, among other measures.

Convention centers and meetings and event organizers are encouraged to implement physical distancing, reduce venue capacity limits, consider pre-arrival risk assessment questionnaires for participants and create isolation units outside the venue where possible for anyone showing COVID-19 symptoms.

“For the first time ever, the global private sector has rallied around our Safe Travels protocols which will create the consistency needed to allow a re-invigorated Travel & Tourism sector re-open for business,” stated WTTC President & CEO, Gloria Guevara. “Among the most important of these measures are those which will enable the aviation sector to take-off. Aviation’s return is critical to help repower the global economic recovery.”

“WTTC aviation protocols were created in close collaboration with ACI and IATA. We thank them and their leaders Angela Gittens and Alexandre de Juniac for their guidance, as it is vital we restore consumer confidence to get people traveling and flying safely,” she added. “The expertise from large and small tour operators contributed to define the new experience via tour operators and visiting event venues again, and were defined in the coordination of experts from this segment, through these robust global measures which have been embraced by businesses around the world.”

Visit WTTC.org to view a complete breakdown of the latest Safe Travels global protocols.

This post was published by our news partner: TravelPulse.com | Article Source

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