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US Travel: 9 in 10 US voters want another COVID relief bill

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US Travel: 9 in 10 US voters want another COVID relief bill
Written by Harry S. Johnson

Eighty-seven percent of respondents to a recent survey—all of whom voted in the November 3 election—believe there should be another round of coronavirus-related relief from Washington, according to results released Tuesday by the U.S. Travel Association.

The survey, conducted for U.S. Travel by the research firm Heart + Mind Strategies LLC, was taken from a nationally representative sample of 1,000 voters. It found strong majority support for another relief bill among every voter group, demographic subgroup, and geographic region.

U.S. Travel represents the U.S. economic sector—America’s travel and tourism industry—that is suffering by far the most from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Total travel spending in the U.S. is projected to finish the year down 45% percent from 2019, and travel—which prior to the pandemic supported employment for one out of every 10 Americans—now accounts for more than a third of all the current unemployment in the country.

Travel fundamentally cannot begin a recovery with alarming pandemic trends now causing new rounds of closures and restrictions. U.S. Travel has been pleading for months for leaders to reach agreement on a fresh round of relief so that travel businesses can keep their doors open long enough to rehire their workers when conditions finally improve.

“The urgent needs of one of the country’s biggest job-creating sectors have been clear for some time, and it is now also clear that the voting public strongly desires action from Washington,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “Advancing a bipartisan coronavirus relief measure is both the right thing to do, and the right thing to do politically. And it needs to be done now, not in the next Congress, because large numbers of our small-business employers simply won’t survive that long and their lost jobs will then be permanent.”

At a minimum, U.S. Travel has said, rescuing travel jobs requires enhancements to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to allow a second draw of funds; an expansion of PPP’s eligibility to allow non-profit and quasi-governmental destination marketing organizations (DMOs) to access aid; and an extension of the Coronavirus Relief Program through the end of 2021.

The survey released by U.S. Travel also found that four in five voters (79%) want the two political parties to work together on policy, up slightly from a similar poll conducted in 2018 (75%). That result includes overwhelming majorities of both Biden voters (82%) and Trump voters (76%).

The announcement of a tentative relief agreement Tuesday by legislators from both parties therefore drew praise from Dow, pending details.

“The relief framework proposed today is welcome evidence that there is bipartisan, bicameral support in Congress for a deal—just like among the American public at large—and we urgently need Congress to act now,” Dow said.