U.S. Travel Association applauds $900 billion COVID-19 relief package

Congress has passed a long-awaited $900 billion COVID-19 relief package.
Congress has passed a long-awaited $900 billion COVID-19 relief package.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the end of 2020 nears, the U.S. Congress has passed a nearly $900 billion COVID-19 relief package.

The news has been long awaited by the travel, tourism, and entertainment industries.

“Because of our collective voices, our elected officials—and all of our travel champions in Congress—were able to recognize that any further delay would be extremely damaging to millions of American jobs and to the recovery of our industry. We are very pleased this resulted in very important measures moving forward to help the industry,” said U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow in a December 22 statement.

While many components of the legislation affect travel, a few of particular importance to the industry include:

– Expands PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) eligibility to both nonprofit and quasi-governmental destination marketing organizations (DMOs) with 300 employees or fewer (full-time and part-time combined)

– Sets aside $35 billion for first-time PPP loan recipients

– Makes businesses with 300 employees or fewer and a 25 percent decline in revenue in any quarter in 2020 eligible for a second PPP loan of up to $2 million

– Extends use of Coronavirus Relief Funds until December 31, 2021

– Allocates $15 billion in grants to concert venues, performing art centers, theaters, and museums with 500 or fewer full-time equivalent employees and at least a 25 percent decline in revenue, among other qualifications

– Extends the Employee Retention Tax Credit through July 1, 2021

– Allocates $2 billion in grants for airports and airport concessionaires, including $1.75 billion in grants for commercial service airports and $200 million for airport concessionaire relief

– Allows full deductibility of business meal expenses incurred in 2021 and 2022

The U.S. Travel Association has amassed a full summary of included travel provisions.

To help industry members navigate the legislation, access relief, and know when funds will be made available, the association is holding a webinar on January 7, 2021 at noon ET. Their government relations team will walk attendees through the package at that time and answer any questions.

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