Saying that "a new round of coronavirus-related economic closures" have made Americans "as wary as ever of traveling," the U.S. Travel Association is urging Washington to boost pandemic relief aid for the industry.

In a July 17 letter addressed to Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin and congressional leaders, the association outlines previous proposals such as extending the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) through the end of the year, expanding PPP eligibility to destination marketing organizations (DMOs) and providing grants to airports.

It also requests that DMOs be provided $10 billion in federal aid to promote "safe and healthy practices," such as educating Americans about mask use and businesses' efforts to prevent the spread of Covid-19, which U.S. Travel says would "help restore confidence in the safety of travel."

The association is also proposing a tax credit for travel expenses of up to $3,000 for a family of five, similar to the American TRIP Act legislation introduced by Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz. 

Citing Oxford Economics data, the letter concludes that the proposed aid would give the U.S. economy a $163 billion boost within 18 months, "ensuring the industry can not only recover what was lost but also return to a position of strength."

"We firmly believe the country doesn't have to choose between personal safety and economic security," the association writes in its conclusion. 

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