U.S. Travel Association says industry facing “Great Depression”

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – While some jurisdictions have begun loosening COVID-19-related measures, the impact on the travel industry remains at never-seen-before levels.

According to new data released by the U.S. Travel Association and research firm Tourism Economics, travel industry-related losses made up 38 percent of all jobs lost in the U.S. last month, representing 10 million workers.

In fact, it is estimated there is currently a 51 percent unemployment rate in the travel industry, which is twice as high as the overall jobless rate in the worst year of the Great Depression (25 percent).

In the year following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, travel spending declined $57 billion, representing an economic loss of $133 billion.

It is expected the impact of COVID-19 will result in a $519 billion decline in travel spending, which equates to a $1.2 trillion economic loss, nine times the impact in the year after 9/11.

In response, the U.S. Travel Association has called for the following actions to get Americans and the economy moving again:

  • Extending and enhancing the CARES Act;
  • Providing incentives for a “safe restart” of the travel industry;
  • Supporting community-based economic recovery;
  • Provide limited, temporary, and immediate safe harbor for businesses that follow proper health and safety guidelines to protect against COVID-19;
  • Strengthen the federal role in COVID-19 testing, research, and contact tracing; and
  • Provide a federal backstop for pandemic risk insurance.

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