US lawmakers back bill to boost ailing travel industry

Washington-DC

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The pandemic has devastated the travel industry and lawmakers are trying to find ways to stop the downward spiral and restore jobs.

More than half of all U.S. tourism jobs have been lost due to the pandemic, according to the U.S. Travel Association. Tori Emerson Barnes with the U.S. Travel Association said 15.8 million travel-industry jobs existed in 2019 but the industry has already lost “8.1 million jobs and is expected to lose over $500 billion this year.”

Nevada Congresswoman Dina Titus introduced the Healthy and Safe Travel Promotion Act in an effort to help relieve the strain.

“One in 10 jobs nationwide is attached to tourism and hospitality,” said Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV). “And here in Nevada, it’s one in three jobs.”

The bill would give $5 billion to states to advertise travel and tourism. Titus also wants states to have the flexibility to use previously allotted stimulus funds.

“It doesn’t go to individual businesses, it goes to like local convention authorities, state agencies that deal with promoting travel and tourism,” she said.

Her bill has bipartisan support and Titus hopes it will be included in the next COVID-19 stimulus package.

The U.S. Travel Association supports the efforts but Barnes says more needs to be done by the federal government “so it’s not state-by-state patchwork, that we would be able to see this reopening of travel in a much, much more robust fashion.”

More than a dozen travel industry CEOs signed a letter calling for a federal testing strategy to include rapid, reliable, easily-accessible COVID-19 tests.

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