AHLA Seeks Additional Aid for Hotels from Congress
Representing one of the industries hardest hit from the COVID-19 pandemic, American Hotel & Lodging Association continues to seek help for hotels and hotel workers from the legislators currently working on another relief package. In a letter sent to congressional leaders on July 20, AHLA noted that the leisure and hospitality sector has lost 4.8 million jobs since February — more jobs than construction, manufacturing, retail, education and health services combined, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“We are a major economic driver, supporting millions of jobs and generating billions in tax revenue,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “We need Congress to continue to prioritize the industries and employees most affected by the crisis so that help is directed to the businesses that need it most.”
Specifically, the AHLA is urging Congress to provide assistance in the following areas:
- Provide additional liquidity for severely impacted businesses through a targeted extension of the Paycheck Protection Program.
- Create hotel industry relief opportunities utilizing Federal Reserve and Treasury authority.
- Establish a Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities market relief fund with a specific focus on the hotel industry as part of the Federal Reserve’s lending options.
- Make structural changes to the Main Street Lending Facility established under the CARES Act to ensure hotel companies can access the program.
- Include limited liability language to provide a limited safe harbor from exposure liability for hotels that reopen and follow proper public health guidance.
- Include targeted tax provisions that will benefit severely injured businesses and their employees, including tax credits for capital expenditures or expenses to meet the industry’s Safe Stay initiative, enhanced Employee Retention Credit, a temporary travel tax credit, exempting taxation on phantom income from loan modification forgiveness or cancelation, and allowing full deductibility of the food and entertainment business expense.
To show its efforts have the backing of the American public, AHLA commissioned a survey from Morning Consult. The results of their national tracking poll indicated that Americans overwhelmingly support these efforts to help the travel industry recover:
- 70 percent of Americans support passing additional economic stimulus for the industries most negatively impacted by the pandemic, including the travel and hospitality sectors.
- By almost a 3-to-1 ratio, Americans support a new, temporary federal travel tax credit to encourage people to travel (61 percent support, 21 percent oppose).
- By more than a 2-to-1 ratio, Americans support restoring the business entertainment expense deduction to encourage business travel (57 percent support, 21 percent oppose).
- Almost two-thirds of Americans support efforts by the federal government to require banks to offer debt relief or forbearance on commercial hotel mortgages (63 percent support, 16 percent oppose).
“With a presence in every congressional district in America, hotels are central to getting our economy back on track and supporting millions of jobs,” said Rogers. “Americans overwhelmingly support efforts by Congress to provide the hotel industry with additional support so that we can keep our doors open and bring back our employees.”
Learn more about AHLA’s ongoing efforts to help the tourism industry here.