Thank you for your leadership in establishing Covid relief funds during this unprecedented pandemic. The relief programs have been essential to the survival of small businesses throughout the U.S. Unfortunately, those funds are running out for many small businesses in the travel industry, specifically those who create demand and facilitate international travel to the USA.
We represent inbound tour operators based across the U.S. who develop, promote, and facilitate international travel to Alaska and the entire U.S. working with the international trade, such as international tour operators, corporate travel buyers and travel agents.
Inbound operators provide these products much to the benefit of the U.S. in terms of jobs, economic impact, and balance of trade. Alaska’s economy is largely dependent on tourism, and the country’s current entry restrictions continue to keep international travelers from experiencing the state’s amazing wonders.
We support the Securing Access for Venue Equity (SAVE) Act (H.R. 2120), which would make inbound tour operators and other hard hit travel businesses eligible for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) Program.
The SVOG Program includes over $16 billion in funding for grants to shuttered venues. No businesses have been more “shuttered” than inbound tour operators who are at a complete standstill until entry restrictions are lifted, and even then, the lead time required for international travel means the opportunity for any meaningful revenue will be Spring 2022.
We ask that you introduce companion legislation to the SAVE Act to address the needs of these small businesses who bring millions of dollars to your state. IITA and our members are willing to meet via Zoom with your staff for further discussion.
You may reach either of us at email@example.com or 859-955-9098. You will also find contact information for our inbound operator member co-signers below. Thank you. Best regards,
Peter van Berkel