COVID-19 Relief Bill Includes Major U.S. Travel Priorities

December 22, 2020



Congressional leadership has reached a bipartisan agreement on a COVID relief package that will benefit travel businesses and workers across the industry. We are very pleased that Senate Majority Leader McConnell, Speaker Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Schumer and House Republican Leader McCarthy recognize the urgency and need to move forward on this legislation before the end of the year.

There are a few more steps before the bill is a done deal. Congress will soon pass a seven-day continuing resolution as the omnibus is finalized—which will include the COVID-19 recovery package. The bill must then be signed by the president. We will remain heavily engaged until the legislation is enacted and will keep you informed of additional developments.

Support for the Industry
Though we are still waiting for the final text to be released later this evening or very early tomorrow, two summaries are available now, one released by Democrats and one released by Republicans, both showing there are many provisions included that U.S. Travel has fought hard to secure, in particular:

  • $325 billion for small businesses, including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
    • The bill expands eligibility for destination marketing organizations (DMOs) with, we believe, fewer than 300 full-time and part-time employees, though we are still waiting to confirm the exact number
    • The bill will provide a second round of PPP loans, with loan forgiveness, for small businesses with fewer than 300 employees AND a 25% revenue loss in any quarter of 2020
  • $2 billion for airports, including set asides for airport concessionaires
  • Expands and enhances the Employee Retention Tax Credit
  • Extends the Coronavirus Relief Fund to the end of 2021

This has truly been the result of an extraordinary industrywide effort, but I would be remiss not to single out our Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Barnes for her leadership and her team for their hard work.

More Work Ahead
While this is an important development, this legislation only serves as a bridge until 2021 when our government must once again come together to provide more relief and ultimately stimulus for the travel industry. The economy and American jobs simply cannot recover until travel is safely restored.

Thank you to all who have continued to answer our call to action and have made our voice heard in Washington.

Roger J. Dow
President and CEO
U.S. Travel Association


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