Citing an 85% drop in travel spending, the U.S. Travel Association said that the Cares Act needs more funding and that its relief needs to be made available to more segments of the industry.
In a document titled "Technical Corrections and Enhancements to the Cares Act," the association called on Congress to add $600 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and expand eligibility to businesses that were left out of the first Cares Act: specifically, destination marketing organizations (DMOs) that are classified as nonprofit "political subdivisions" of their local governments and small businesses (fewer than 500 employees) that operate multiple locations.
"The Cares Act was an ambitious step, but now the urgent problem is that assistance is simply not getting where it needs to go," said U.S. Travel Association CEO Roger Dow. "Major adjustments and more aid are needed immediately to support small businesses, including local nonprofits that are essential engines of the travel economy that employs one in 10 Americans."
Other changes sought include ensuring loan forgiveness can cover both payroll and other operating expenses during the shutdown and extending PPP coverage through December instead of June 30.
"The economy will not realistically be in recovery by then -- and the initial round of funding is expected to run out in just a few weeks," U.S. Travel said.
U.S. Travel said the economy is on pace to lose 5.9 million travel-related jobs by the end of April, more than a third of the travel-supported workforce.
Dow added that travel-related small businesses will be "vital leaders of an economic recovery, but first they need to survive until the point when travel demand returns. In order to make it, these businesses need to be able to access the resources that will enable them to keep the lights on and retain their employees."