U.S. Travel: Act Now to Help Win Government Support for DMOs

Author: Convene Editors       

U.S. Travel

The U.S. Travel Association is asking travel industry advocates to lobby Congress for more relief for the industry than is provided in the CARES Act. (Andy Feliciotti on Unsplash)

The U.S. Travel Association is urging travel industry advocates to “write, call, and tweet” elected officials to secure additional government relief for the industry.

The CARES Act “was a good starting point and offered many in our industry much-needed relief,” said U.S. Travel Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes. But “it’s not enough.”

U.S. Travel

Tori Emerson Barnes

Barnes, in an April 8 email, issued a call to action, asking that Congress be pushed to ensure “the travel industry’s needs are heard.”

“It will take no more than 15 minutes of your time to write, call, and tweet your elected leaders. … Completing all three actions will be absolutely critical to Congress hearing the loudest voice possible,” she said.

“Ensuring our industry endures this crisis,” Barnes added, “will require everyone’s participation.”

In recent commentary posted on the U.S. Travel website, Roger Dow, president and CEO, also pointed out that while the CARES Act “contains a number of hard-fought provisions to provide essential and immediate aid to the travel industry, a crucial problem is emerging with the distribution of funds: relief for destination marketing organizations (DMOs) with a 501(c)(6) tax designation.

U.S. Travel

Roger Dow

“Though regional businesses of all sizes are eligible for CARES Act provisions,” Dow noted, “DMOs are absolutely essential to driving customers to these businesses, and any relief package is incomplete without support for destination marketers. It’s the work of DMOs that bring the customers that fill restaurants, hotels, and local attractions — the 15.8 million travel-related jobs in every pocket of America are deeply dependent on the efforts of these organizations.”

Dow said that 501(c)(6) DMOs are eligible for Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loans of up to $2 million and the Treasury Department’s Exchange Stabilization Fund, which will also be distributed in loan form.

However, he noted that they are not eligible for the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), “which provides loan forgiveness for payroll costs, group health-care benefits and other operations expenses through June 30.”

“For nonprofits such as 501(c)(6) DMOs,” Dow said, “the loan forgiveness aspects of PPP are critical.”

To reach elected officials, visit the U.S. Travel–provided link.

Become a Member

Get premium access to provocative executive-level education, face-to-face networking and business intelligence.