Travel's economic footprint in the United States shrank a staggering 42 percent last year, from $2.6 trillion to $1.5 trillion, according to new end-of-year totals prepared for the U.S. Travel Association by the research firm Tourism Economics.
The employment devastation was similarly massive: travel-supported jobs fell by 5.6 million in 2020 (16.7 million to 11.1 million)— 65 percent of all American jobs lost to the economic fallout of the pandemic. Travel and tourism had supported employment for 11 percent of the U.S. workforce prior to the onset of COVID.
More details on travel's 2020 losses can be found here.
The new data on travel's dramatic losses arrives as hundreds of industry leaders from across the country meet virtually on March 17 with members of Congress for Destination Capitol Hill, the U.S. Travel Association's annual legislative fly-in.
Nearly 300 virtual meetings between industry leaders and members of Congress focused on measures to:
Provide relief for travel industry businesses
Advance stimulus measures to drive travel demand
Position the U.S. to welcome back international travel
Safely restore business travel, meetings and events
These policy priorities follow a year of intense efforts to secure crucial emergency relief for all sectors of travel—without which many of the sector's job losses may become permanent.
Specific bills for which the industry is advocating include the Paycheck Protection Program Extension Act of 2021 and the Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act of 2021.
image courtesy of U.S. Travel Association