The U.S. Travel Association and the International Franchise Association (IFA) voiced strong support for new legislation that would provide relief for hard-hit hotel workers until travel returns to pre-pandemic levels.
The Save Hotel Jobs Act, introduced in both chambers of Congress by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL), would support jobs in the devastated lodging industry through a combination of direct payroll grants and tax credits, among other provisions.
The measure earlier won the joint endorsement of the American Hotel & Lodging Association and UNITE HERE, the largest hospitality workers union in North America.
“Two-thirds of the U.S. jobs lost in 2020 were supported by travel, and there is still a clear need to support those workers until a travel recovery can get off the ground,” said U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes. “Though many have noted some positive signs for domestic leisure travel, an overall travel recovery will be far from complete unless we can bring back the international and business segments, and we are years away from that happening without significant action.”
“IFA applauds the introduction of the Save Hotel Jobs Act on behalf of the tens of thousands of hotel owners in communities across the country,” said IFA Senior Vice President for Government Relations and Public Affairs Matthew Haller. “More than 200,000 jobs were lost in the franchise lodging sector, representing a 33% drop in employment. This legislation will allow these franchise owners much-needed time to recover and rebuild their operations, ensuring they can rebuild their workforce and support local communities until travel resumes to pre-pandemic levels.”
According to U.S. Travel Association data, the drop in travel spending in 2020 resulted in a $1.1 trillion total hit to the U.S. economy. Travel-supported jobs, which accounted for 11% of the U.S. workforce prior to the pandemic, represented a staggering 65% of all the U.S. jobs lost last year.