In a possibly unprecedented action, the CEOs of 17 of the biggest U.S. hospitality and travel companies have issued a plea to Washington for legislative relief.
Joining with U.S. Travel Association, the corporate leaders called on Congress and the White House “in the strongest possible terms” to approve a relief package before the election “that will give travel employers—and the millions of livelihoods they support—a fighting chance to survive.”
Hotel companies represented include marquee names like Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, Loews, Best Western, Wyndham, as well as U.S. operations for IHG and Accor, which are headquartered in Britain and France, respectively. Other signatories were top executives from Delta Airlines, JetBlue and Disney.
The open letter stated:
“We represent an industry that accounts for nearly 40 percent of all the U.S. jobs that have been lost to the coronavirus pandemic—an absolutely staggering figure. With travel spending in the U.S. projected to drop more than half a trillion dollars this year, travel employers—83 percent of which are classified as small businesses, including large numbers of our own franchisees—are struggling to keep their doors open. It is unknown when the health crisis will allow the situation to improve on its own.
“Major portions of the travel industry have been unable to access any of the previous rounds of coronavirus-related aid passed by Washington—and for those that have had some relief, it has not been equal to the magnitude of the challenge.
“With each moment that passes without another relief package, more travel businesses are at greater risk of closing their doors forever, with those jobs unable to be restored.”
The statement demanded “at a bare minimum” enhancements to the Paycheck Protection Program—”especially a second draw on funds for eligible businesses.”
The business leaders concluded, “If there were ever a moment when American businesses and workers need leadership that transcends politics, it is now. We respectfully request that political leaders engage in a continuous dialogue for however long it takes to achieve action. Failure to do so will almost certainly delay a recovery for years.”