U.S. Travel Association Unpacks CARES Act for the Travel Industry

Author: Barbara Palmer       


The U.S. Travel Association is getting the word out about the CARES Act passed by Congress to help businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Travel Association)

On Monday afternoon, U.S. Travel Association hosted a 90-minute webinar, guiding more than 1,000 participants through the highlights of the 880-page, $2-trillion-plus CARES Act.

The act is expected to secure help for the travel and tourism industry as a result of the “unprecedented and catastrophic” pandemic, said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow, “and to build a bridge for travel industry workers and businesses.”

The legislation provides a variety of grants, emergency loans, unsecured lines of credit, and other forms of relief for businesses and nonprofits of all sizes. The package is structured in such a way to stabilize businesses and communities, and to provide incentives that will retain worker jobs, U.S. Travel Association staff said. The CARES act also provides $10 billion in funding toward maintaining airport operations, $5 billion in community development block grants, and an additional $1.5 billion for communities, which will be awarded based on criteria including losses sustained due to the pandemic.

According to the bill, eligible businesses must be “created or organized in the United States or under the laws of the United States and [have] significant operations in and a majority of its employees based in the United States,” which excludes the major cruise lines, which are headquartered outside the U.S.

The CARES Act “is an important step forward toward delivering broad-based relief across our industry, but there’s more work to be done” as Congress prepares for another legislative relief package, Dow said. The organization will continue to press the travel industry’s agenda forward and to get funds to people as quickly as possible, he said. Visit the U.S. Travel Association’s CARES Act resources page for more information.

Key provisions of the act include:

  • $377 billion in loans and loan forgiveness for businesses. The bill provides small businesses (500 employees or less), self-employed individuals, and 501(c)(3) nonprofits with enhanced and expedited Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, which will be made available quickly through community banks. Loan recipients can receive tax-free forgiveness on a portion of the loan, equal to eight weeks of payroll and other expenses.
  • $454 billion in federally backed financial assistance for impacted businesses. The bill provides $454 billion through the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve to assist impacted travel businesses and governmental entities through secured loans, loan guarantees, and other financial measures. The broad eligibility under this program ensures any impacted organizations can access a liquidity lifeline to keep workers employed and TO stay afloat through the worst months of this crisis.
  • Tax relief to mitigate losses and allow businesses to use cash to pay employees and keep the lights on. The bill allows affected businesses to temporarily defer tax liability, access an Employee Retention Tax Credit, delay or eliminate estimated quarterly tax payments and filings deadlines, and allow for a carryback of the Net Operating Loss (NOL) Deduction.
  • Grants for impacted tourism businesses and airports. The bill provides $10 billion in airport grants to support vital operations and provides $6.5 billion in Community Development and Economic Development Administration grants for economic injuries caused by COVID-19, including the tourism industry.

Barbara Palmer is deputy editor of Convene.

What Events Professionals Need to Know About COVID-19

PCMA has created a COVID-19 resources page to help event professionals find reliable information about the outbreak and to share events industry-related resources to ensure they are prepared.

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