U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes issued the following statement on Senate passage of H.R. 7010, the package of Paycheck Protection Program enhancements that had been previously approved by the House:
“The PPP changes passed by both chambers are another important step in providing relief to small businesses that otherwise will not survive until the economic recovery phase.
“The modification to the portion of funds that can be used for non-payroll expenses is especially crucial to travel-related small businesses, which have comparatively high capital overhead but virtually zero incoming revenue because of the necessary measures in place to stem the spread of the pandemic.
“While this measure does a good job making the PPP work better for businesses that are eligible, other PPP enhancements will be needed to make sure all the key pieces are in place when the recovery begins—in particular, extending eligibility to non-profit and quasi-governmental entities that are vital drivers of local and regional economic development. Like the businesses they serve, the finances of these non-profits have been devastated by the standstill in travel and tourism, and the moment of recovery will be moot unless they can keep their lights on to take advantage of the return in travel demand.
“We urge leaders to move urgently to enact the next phase of coronavirus response legislation, which is absolutely vital to the future of the travel and tourism industry, and to prioritize expanding eligibility to those most hard hit by this pandemic such as destination marketing organizations.
“We thank Sens. Rubio and Cardin, Reps. Phillips and Roy, and the leadership in both chambers for championing this bill and the important structural changes it makes to PPP, and for the continued attention by Congress to the dire needs of the American travel and business community and workforce.”