Despite a positive jobs report last week, the leisure and hospitality sector continues to suffer the worst losses in the current economy, according to a statement from the U.S. Travel Association, which called for a number of actions to help the industry. Tori Emerson Barnes, executive vice president of public affairs and policy, said that 73% of the jobs lost during the pandemic have been in the sector. The job numbers, she said, reflect the great need to accelerate the return of business and international inbound travel and the recovery of these positions. While overall US employment is just 1.4% below 2019 levels, said Barnes, leisure and hospitality is down a disproportionate 9%. Urgent action, she said, is needed by both the administration and Congress “to bolster inbound international travel, restore business travel and ensure an even recovery across all sectors.” U.S. Travel called on the administration to implement measures that include:
  • Removing the pre-departure testing requirement for all fully vaccinated inbound international arrivals;
  • Providing emergency support for Brand USA through the passage of the Restoring Brand USA Act;
  • Raising the cap on H-2B visas to ease the absence of labor for the more than 1 million job openings in the leisure and hospitality industry;
  • Providing targeted, temporary tax credits and deductions to stimulate spending on business travel, live entertainment and in-person events.