More than half (55 percent) of all small travel businesses in the U.S. are at risk of either taking longer than six months to recover or never recovering at all, according to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Travel Association.
The numbers, prepared for U.S. Travel by the data analytics firm Tourism Economics, indicate an extreme threat to travel-supported jobs, which employed one in 10 Americans pre-pandemic. A massive 95 percent of all accommodation and food service employment is found within small and medium-size businesses, as defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration—and greater than 60 percent, in total, comes from small businesses.
According to the data, nearly half of small businesses (46 percent) say it will take more than six months to return to “year-ago” business levels. Another 19.1 percent say two to six months. Nearly one in 10 (9.4 percent) have already returned to normal, while 7.6 percent say they will “never” return to 2019 levels; 1.5 percent have permanently closed.
Overall, leisure and hospitality employment represents more than one-third (36 percent) of all job losses since the start of the pandemic. In addition, the overall U.S. economy is projected to lose $1.2 trillion this year because of the drop in travel. Prior to the pandemic, travel was a top 10 employer in 49 states and the District of Columbia.
“These numbers highlight the urgent need for further legislative measures to provide immediate relief to small travel businesses and their employees, many of which were unable to access earlier rounds of aid,” said U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow. “Washington acted quickly and aggressively to get assistance out the door in the early days of the pandemic, but the situation remains exceptionally dire on huge swaths of ‘Main Street U.S.A.,’ and more needs to be done.
“We will do whatever it takes to get leaders to return to the negotiating table and advance another deal before the election. Each moment that passes makes it likelier that more small businesses will shut their doors and never reopen—meaning those jobs are gone for good, too.”
U.S. Travel has outlined a slate of policy priorities to provide relief, protection and stimulus for travel businesses and jobs. Among these priorities are extending the Paycheck Protection Program through the end of the year, giving priority to the hardest-hit sectors of the economy, providing $10 billion in federal grants to promote safe travel practices, creating temporary tac credits and deductions and more.
Source: U.S. Travel Association