As leaders of the Senate Subcommittee on Tourism, Trade and Export Promotion, we seek your assistance in securing relief funding for inbound tour operators based across the U.S. who promote international travel to the United States.
Inbound tour operators facilitate inbound travel services for both independent and group travelers with their business partners – international tour operators, corporate travel buyers and travel agents. They drive international business to other travel and hospitality sectors, like hotels, transportation companies, attractions and restaurants.
Serving only international travelers to the U.S., inbound tour operators (the vast majority of which are small businesses) have been completely shut down since the federally-mandated border closures in March 2020.
We applaud your efforts to stimulate travel and tourism including reopening the country for international inbound travel. However, we need the businesses who promote, arrange and facilitate travel for international visitors to be strong and ready.
According to the U.S. Travel Association, prior to the pandemic, international inbound travel to the U.S. contributed $234 billion in export income to the U.S. economy, generated a trade surplus of $51 billion, and directly supported 1.2 million American jobs. Every dollar generated by international visitation goes 100% to exports to the benefit of the United States in terms of jobs, economic impact, and balance of trade.
However, the U.S. lost $150 billion in export income and 1.1 million jobs in 2020 due to the pandemic. The country is projected to lose an additional $175 billion by the end of this year, unless entry restrictions are lifted, and inbound tour operators will have no opportunity to do business.
We support the Securing Access for Venue Equity (SAVE) Act (H.R. 2120) that would make inbound tour operators eligible for the Shuttered Venue Operator Grants program. We urge the Subcommittee to see that a companion bill is introduced in the Senate.
Whether it’s the SVOG program or other relief and stimulus legislation, inbound operators need financial support to keep the lights on as we work our way back to normal inbound travel patterns.
We would be happy to bring together inbound operators from across the country to meet virtually with majority and minority Subcommittee staffs for further discussions. 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.
Peter van Berkel