Mixed Reaction by Travel, Event Industries to Federal Stimulus Bill

stimulus bill

The $2 trillion federal stimulus bill that is expected to land soon on President Trump’s desk is drawing mixed reaction from various corners of the travel, hospitality and meetings industries.

U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow on Wednesday offered praise for the coronavirus relief package known as the CARES Act, which includes significant priorities championed by his organization.

But Dow cautioned that there is still work to be done to protect the entirety of the 15.8 million American jobs supported by travel, according to a statement issued by U.S. Travel.

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“With this bipartisan deal, Washington is providing a vital lifeline to protect millions of travel workers and help businesses of all sizes keep their lights on through the worst of the health crisis,” Dow said.

“No legislative package was ever going to erase 100 percent of the pain from the economic catastrophe being caused by coronavirus, but this deal gives the travel economy a fighting chance to weather the eye of the storm and prepare to quickly lead the recovery,” he said.

Dow continued: “Our industry stayed together and presented hard facts to make the case for massive and urgent relief, and our political leaders heard us. However, the true scale of this crisis, and the economic damage created by this public health disaster, will extend beyond the scope of this historic bill. It’s sad, but it’s true—more help will be needed soon.”

At the same, ASAE told CEO Update that it is disappointed the CARES Act does not include the $25 billion sought by associations to cover lost event revenue, nor does it make all 501(c) organizations eligible for Small Business Association business interruption loans.

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“ASAE applauds Congress for swiftly taking action to assist millions of Americans, corporations and small businesses impacted by COVID-19,” said ASAE CEO Susan Robertson. “At least one of the provisions in this economic stimulus package—an employee retention tax credit to assist businesses and 501(c) entities that have a furloughed or reduced workforce due to the coronavirus—will benefit some revenue-stricken associations, along with other impacted segments of the economy.

“We need more, and we have made some very specific asks of Congress to assist associations suffering due to COVID-19-related event cancellations and other losses. We understand there is an additional relief package under consideration after the passage of this third stimulus package, and we will continue to make the case that associations need and deserve additional aid during this crisis,” Robertson said.

CEO Update reported that, in a March 23 letter to congressional leaders and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Robertson wrote, “Without this financial support, innumerable associations will fail.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.