Broad restrictions canceling flights to the U.S. in the past five days due to the erupting volcano in Iceland has cost the U.S. economy $650 million, according to the U.S. Travel Association. This spending supports 6,000 U.S. jobs.
The loss to the economy-averaging $130 million per day-vividly illustrates how the world has come to depend on travel for tourism and business of all kinds, and demonstrates the importance of policymakers acting on facts and retaining a measured response to crises, said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association.
"Given the results of test flights in recent days, European leaders have appropriately questioned the process that led to broad restrictions on air travel before clear evidence was available to indicate they were necessary," Dow said. "While safety must always be the primary consideration, economies, particularly those recovering from recession, cannot afford an overreaction that stifles travel completely."
Dow highlighted the following information provided by U.S. Travel economists:
* In the past five days, carriers between Europe and the U.S. have seen about 78 percent of their flights canceled
* The impact of these flight cancellations between Europe and the U.S. have cost the U.S. economy $650 million in direct travel spending and $90 million in tax receipts
* Every U.S.-bound flight accounts for an average $450,000 in direct spending by international travelers to the economy, spending that supports five jobs per flight
Dow said U.S. Travel is in contact with policymakers in Washington to affirm travel's role in the U.S. economy and quality of life. "Our goal is to ensure appropriate responses are made by government leaders as this situation continues to evolve, and as other crises affecting travel present themselves in the future," Dow said. "We are also working with them to assure emergency plans are in place to minimize the impact on travelers if a similar crisis occurs in the United States."