Dear Madam Vice President:
Thank you for leading the discussion on yesterday’s Small Business Administration webinar. We were heartened to hear your continued focus on small business relief. To that point, we would like to draw your attention to a diverse group of small businesses, inbound tour operators, that are dependent on international travel to the U.S.
The international inbound sector of the travel industry has been devastated by Covid and the corresponding travel restrictions for entering the United States. Inbound tour operators have been down 95-100% in revenue since March 2020, and they will not see any meaningful revenue until spring 2022 due to booking lead times and seasonality of the business, which means they will be without any revenue for two full years.
These companies work B2B with the international travel trade to create demand and facilitate travel services from accommodations to full leisure itineraries and business travel. They have taken advantage of PPP and other loan programs, but those funds are running out. They need more relief funding to bridge to Spring 2022 or the inbound travel infrastructure stands to crumble just as borders begin to open to international visitors.
International inbound travel exports delivered a $51 billion positive trade surplus on a total of $234 billion in travel exports. Due to the pandemic, the U.S. lost $150 billion in export income and 1.1 million jobs in 2020.
Inbound tour operators are critical to the recovery of international inbound travel as they create demand for leisure and business travel to the U.S. They have a worldwide network of trusted travel trade partners poised to meet the pent-up demands of travelers from all markets, which in turn will drive international business to other travel and hospitality sectors, like hotels, transportation companies, attractions, and restaurants, throughout the country.
If the inbound travel bookings resume at the rate we’ve seen with domestic travel, and the pent-up demand suggests they will, the U.S. will not be prepared.
How can we stand up these companies and strengthen the inbound travel infrastructure to quickly restore the #1 services export for the USA?
We respectfully request your help in securing funds from the American Rescue Plan to put the necessary support in place to ensure a strong and smooth recovery of international inbound travel.
We are here to work with you and the administration. You may reach either of us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 859-955-9098. Thank you, Madam Vice President.
Peter van Berkel