The inauguration of President Joseph Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris sparked a sense of optimism among travel industry leaders.
With Wednesday’s inauguration of President Biden and the dawn of a new day has come new hope, especially for a beleaguered travel and meetings industry. This was perhaps best expressed by Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), in a statement:
“On behalf of the hotel industry, we congratulate President Biden and Vice President Harris on their inauguration. Today’s peaceful transfer of power marks a new chapter as our country moves forward together. Over the last year, our nation, and the world, has faced incredible difficulties, but we are resilient, and working together we can overcome these historic challenges.”
Industry leaders are optimistic about the eventual return to “normal.” According to U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow, travel supported one in 10 jobs prior to the pandemic, powered the economy and provided jobs in urban and rural communities alike. “It is well within reach to return America to the record growth the travel industry experienced prior to the pandemic through national strategies that will revive the American economy, shorten the recovery, and help unite a divided nation as travel is uniquely equipped to do.”
The industry continues to face historically low occupancy rates, massive job loss, and record hotel closures and needs help to retain and rehire people, revive local communities, and restart our economy, AHLA’s Rogers said, adding that while the vaccine rollout has begun, it will likely take months to widely distribute, and travel is not expected to return to 2019 levels until 2023.
“We urge Congress and the new Administration to come together on a longer-term stimulus package that will ensure our industry survives so that the men and women who are the backbone and heart of hospitality can get back to work and unleash the power of the American dream.”
Dow reiterated U.S. Travel’s commitment to stand ready to work with the new administration and Congress to rebuild the U.S. travel industry, restore millions of travel-related jobs in the years ahead, and to safely bring people across the country and around the world together once again.
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