The U.S. Travel Association called the coronavirus rescue
bill, named the Cares Act, a “lifeline for the travel industry,” but emphasized
it was a relief package and that more help would soon be needed.
“There are a lot of really good things in here that will
help travel and tourism businesses of all different sizes and types, and that’s
what our goal was,” said Tori Emerson Barnes, U.S. Travel’s executive vice president
of public affairs and policy. “But suffice to say it’s a relief package and not
a stimulus. It’s a bridge but it’s likely we’ll need to have additional help.
This is a really good step and there’s a lot of really good help in here,
assuming the government can execute quickly and get the money out the door.”
The bill includes many things for which U.S. Travel had
lobbied, such as $377 billion in loans and loan forgiveness for small travel
businesses and self-employed individuals; $454 billion in federally backed
financial assistance for impacted businesses; tax relief to mitigate losses and
allow businesses to use cash to pay employees and temporarily defer tax
liability; and access to an Employee Retention Tax Credit.
The organization also praised the $10 billion in airport
grants to support vital air operations.
Barnes said this relief would help travel and tourism
businesses “keep the lights on and keep employees” in hopes that the public
health crisis will subside. She emphasized this was not a “bailout,” which she
said can imply there was bad behavior on the part of those needing to be “bailed