A new survey conducted by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) found that while Americans remain hesitant about traveling, they overwhelmingly support efforts by Congress to help the travel industry recover.
On such initiative that’s supported by 70 percent of Americans is the passage of additional economic stimulus for the industries that are most negatively impacted by the pandemic, including the travel and hospitality sectors. By nearly a 3-to-1 margin, Americans support a new, temporary federal travel tax credit to encourage people to travel (61 percent support, 21 percent oppose). To note, the U.S. Travel Association is lobbying for the Trump Administration to create a $4,000 tax credit to be used on domestic travel through 2021.
With only 18 percent of respondents reporting taking an overnight trip since March, the devastation caused to the hotel industry is already nine times worse than 9/11, with more than eight in 10 hotels having to lay off or furlough workers during the pandemic.
In addition, 57 percent of Americans support restoring the business entertainment expense deduction to encourage business travel (while 21 percent oppose). And other 63 percent support efforts by the federal government to require banks to offer debt relief or forbearance on commercial hotel mortgages (16 percent oppose).
The industry has laid out a "Roadmap to Recovery" calling on Congress to help hotels retain and rehire employees, protect employees and guests, keep hotel doors open and incentivize Americans to travel again when it’s safe. Part of the hotel industry’s roadmap for Congress is providing a temporary tax incentive to encourage domestic travel and restoring the business entertainment expense deduction, which would not only provide a boost to hotels and their ability to stay open and retain employees but also the local economies, including restaurants and retail stores that rely on business from travelers.
Prior to the pandemic, according to AHLA, hotels supported one in 25 American jobs—8.3 million in total—and contributed $40 billion in direct state and local tax revenue in 2018 alone. However, because of the sharp drop in travel demand from COVID-19, eight in 10 hotels had to lay off or furlough workers. State and local tax revenue from hotel operations are estimated to drop by $16.8 billion in 2020, according to a separate report by Oxford Economics released by AHLA.
Looking ahead, the survey also found that travel is not expected to fully return until next year with a majority of Americans saying they have no plans to travel for the rest of 2020.
This poll was conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of AHLA. The survey was conducted June 16-19, 2020 among a national sample of 2,200 adults.