U.S. Senator Martha McSally introduced legislation on Monday, June 22, encouraging Americans to support the tourism industry following the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill, called the American TRIP Act, would provide tax credits to Americans who spend money on lodging, entertainment and other expenses related to travel in the United States and its territories. Additionally, the bill provides funding for destination marketing organizations (DMOs) to promote the travel and tourism industry across the nation.
In the state of Arizona, according to the office of Sen. McSally, travel and tourism account for more than $3 billion in tax receipts and employs in total more than 180,000 people. As a result of the economic downturn due to the coronavirus, this sector is experiencing one of the highest unemployment rates, which was over 35 percent in May.
“The tourism and hospitality industries were among the hardest hit sectors across the country and their revival is critical to our economic recovery,” McSally said. “Arizona has lost billions in revenue this year alone due to the pandemic. My legislation will help boost domestic travel and jumpstart the comeback of our hotels, entertainment sectors, local tourism agencies, and the thousands of businesses that make Arizona one of the best places in the world to visit.”
The American TRIP Act provides a nonrefundable $4,000 travel credit for individuals, and $8,000 for joint filers (plus an additional $500 credit for dependent children), for 2020, 2021 and 2022. This credit applies to all travel within the United States and its territories, so long as the travel and expenses and final destination is 50 miles or beyond from the principal residence of the filer(s). Qualified expenses for the credit include lodging, travel and entertainment.
Note: For filers who own a second home, expenses related to live entertainment, food and beverage, and transportation qualify, but expenses related to the dwelling would not qualify (mortgage, interest, maintenance, etc.)
Eben Peck, EVP, advocacy, for the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), said it “is pleased to support Senator McSally’s American Tax Rebate and Incentive Program Act (“American TRIP Act”).”
He adds, “While we remain focused on the relief phase of the coronavirus crisis—securing the maximum amount of financial relief for our members to help them weather the storm—collectively, we will soon need to focus on the recovery phase. Coupled with clear and consistent federal health guidance across travel modes, stimulating demand along the lines of what’s called for it in the American TRIP Act will be critical to the travel industry’s recovery.”
The bill also provides $50 million to help DMOs promote travel and tourism across the nation.