Travel Industry Calls on Congress To Restore Domestic Travel

More than 600 members of the travel industry are calling on Congress to enact policies that will restore and grow the domestic travel industry.

The group of industry representatives, representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam, signed a letter to Congress urging immediate action on near-term federal policies and that letter was delivered to lawmakers on January 19, 2022.

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In the letter, the travel industry members lay out exactly what needs to be done, detailing measures specifically designed to revive domestic business travel and international inbound travel sectors, which continue to struggle.

According to estimates from Tourism Economics, international travel spending was a staggering 78 percent below 2019 levels in 2021, and domestic business travel spending was off by 50 percent.

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Projections will remain abysmal if no action is taken, according to Tourism Economics, and a full recovery will not be possible until at least 2024.

In the letter delivered by the U.S. Travel Association, necessary actions are laid out. These include the following:

–Pass the Restoring Brand USA Act (S. 2424 / H.R. 4594), which transfers $250 million in surplus revenue from the Travel Promotion Fund to restore Brand USA’s budget and support its efforts to bring back international visitors to all regions of the United States.

–Provide targeted tax stimulus to restore spending on business travel, live entertainment, and in-person events. The Hospitality and Commerce Jobs Recovery Act (S.477/H.R.1346) includes temporary tax credits and deductions that are designed to stimulate spending and quicken the pace of recovery.

–Provide additional funding for relief grants to severely impacted travel businesses by expanding eligibility for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program, or enacting a new relief program with a similar structure to RRF for travel-dependent businesses severely impaired by COVID-19 restrictions.

“As the Covid pandemic continues to impact the travel industry, providing additional federal relief and stabilizing policies will help all sectors of travel build an even recovery,” said U.S. Travel Association executive vice president of public affairs and policy Tori Emerson Barnes. “Congress should enact these priorities as quickly as possible to enable the return of business travel and professional meetings and events, in addition to the international inbound travel segment.”

The full letter sent to lawmakers can be viewed online as is detailed information on the programs and policies U.S. Travel is advocating for.


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