This week, a congresswoman from the Sunshine State brought back her proposal to have the U.S. Commerce Department report on how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting the travel and tourism industries through the U.S. House.
At the end of August, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., first introduced the “Protecting Tourism in the United States Act” with U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., as the cosponsor.
The bill “directs the Department of Commerce to complete a study on the effects of the COVID–19 pandemic on the travel and tourism industry, including various segments – domestic, international, leisure, business, conventions, meetings, and events” and “directs the Department of Commerce to complete an interim study to get data for action soon after the bill is enacted.”
Back in November, Castor was able to get her proposal included in U.S. Rep. Tony Cardenas’, D-Calf., “Pandemic Effects on Home Safety and Tourism Act” which cleared the House on a voice vote but it never cleared the U.S. Senate.
Castor brought the bill back this week with U.S. Sens. Roy Bunt, R-Mo., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., championing it in the upper chamber.
“As we ramp up COVID-19 vaccinations and get shots into the arms of Americans, we have started to see signs that the tourism and travel industries are coming back to life. This is a sign of hope that our Tampa community has been waiting for throughout the past year, and bold action is required to mitigate the economic damage our neighbors continue to see and provide for a strong recovery as travel resumes. Paired with the American Rescue Plan’s provisions for small businesses, restaurants and venues, our bipartisan, bicameral bill will help develop an action plan for these bedrock industries,” Castor said
“This comprehensive study will help us get the data we need for near-term action. In the long run, it will help us understand the impact the pandemic has wreaked on travel and tourism for future planning. Our effort will help policymakers understand the best way forward. I’m pleased to work with Senators Klobuchar and Blunt as well as Rep. Upton to aid this bedrock economic engine for Florida and the nation,” Castor added
“Michigan’s tourism industry generates nearly $26 billion a year – and our state’s tourism, like many, has been greatly impacted over the past two years,” said Upton. “Our restaurants, hotels, and mom-and-pop shops that make up our tourism industry have been hit hard. We need to have the full picture of the impact so we can provide effective solutions to support tourism and the industry’s jobs.”
“The coronavirus pandemic has been particularly devastating for hardworking Missourians whose livelihoods depend on the travel, tourism, and hospitality industries,” said Blunt. “Having a full understanding of the pandemic’s impact on jobs and the economy will help us ensure we have the right policies in place to support a full recovery in this critical sector. It’s especially important for a state like ours with all of our incredible parks, attractions, restaurants, and hotels that make Missouri a top travel destination.”
“From Lake Superior to the Mall of America, Minnesota is home to exceptional tourist destinations. As the coronavirus pandemic has limited travel, the tourism industry has been hit particularly hard,” said Klobuchar. “This bipartisan legislation will help the travel and tourism industry recover and support local economies throughout Minnesota and across the country.”
The bill continues to get the support of some leading members of the business community.
“No other industry has suffered as much as travel in the economic fallout of the pandemic, with travel-supported jobs accounting for 65 percent of all U.S. jobs lost in 2020,” said Tori Emerson Barnes, the executive vice president of public affairs and policy of the U.S. Travel Association. “A broader economic recovery effectively hinges on a robust recovery within the travel industry, and the Protecting Tourism in the United States Act can play a critical role in facilitating these efforts by helping policymakers better understand the immediate needs of the industry and its workforce.”
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.