This week is National Travel and Tourism Week – but things look different this year. In 2019, travel generated $2.6 trillion for the U.S. economy. But as we cancel our spring break, Memorial Day, and summer travel plans due to COVID-19, eight in ten hotel rooms are empty. The U.S. is projected to lose $1.2 trillion in 2020 due to the devastated hotel industry.

The travel and tourism sector includes hotels, transportation, recreation and amusement, and retail. Built on hospitality, this work is all about people – it’s not just staggering economic statistics and figures – it’s workers, their families, and their communities. And right now, 70 percent of hotel employees have been laid off.

Oam Patel, a principal at Alora Hospitality Group, said, “Those families have gone from living reasonable, comfortable lives with the ‘American dream’ to pure panic,” referring to the effect this pandemic has had on hotel owners.

That’s why America’s Recovery Fund Coalition is calling on additional congressional support for businesses to overcome the obstacles of the ongoing pandemic, helping them make payroll, offer workers benefits, pay bills, and reinvest in their local economies.

The consequences of COVID-19 are expected to continue throughout 2020. Chip Rogers, the CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, highlighted, “Hotels were one of the first industries affected by the pandemic and will be one of the last to recover. The CARES Act was an important first step with a lot of supportive measures for the hotel industry, but we need Congress to make important changes to the program to reflect the current economic reality and help the employees in the industries that have been impacted the most.”

America’s Recovery Fund will offer a lifeline to affected businesses like those in travel and tourism. Through grants, this fund offers support to allow businesses to retain and rehire staff, pay rent, meet certain debt obligations, and pay state and local taxes.

One day, we’ll be travelers and tourists again – but until then, let’s work together to make sure these American businesses are ready for our return.

Help American businesses that need support open their doors again.