Hotel industry urges local governments to use ARP funding to save jobs

Leaders of various hospitality industry associations have sent a letter to the National Governors Association and The U.S. Conference of Mayors encouraging their members to act on policy options to address the needs of the hospitality, travel and tourism sectors through programs included in the American Rescue Plan (ARP).

The letter was sent by Chip Rogers, president/CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA); Cecil P. Staton, president/CEO of AAHOA; Lynette Montoya, president/CEO of the Latino Hotel Association (LHA); and Andy Ingraham, president/CEO/founder of the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators & Developers (NABHOOD).

“The pandemic has been devastating to the hospitality industry workforce, wiping out 10 years of hotel job growth,” the letter stated. “Twenty percent of leisure and hospitality jobs—3.5 million in total—have been lost during the pandemic and have yet to return, and the unemployment rate in the hospitality and tourism sector remains 300% higher than the rest of the economy. With hotels expected to end 2021 down 500,000 direct jobs, an additional 1.3 million hotel-supported jobs are also in jeopardy without additional support.”

The letter asks that the government leaders use part of $350 billion allocated to states, local and tribal governments to address the fiscal impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the ARP for the travel industry. “The ARP directs state and local governments to focus part of their relief efforts on the hospitality and tourism industries…While the ARP is not specific in how states and local governments should meet the goal of addressing the needs of the hospitality, travel and tourism sectors, there are numerous programs that would provide much needed assistance to the hotel industry and its workforce,” the letter states. “These policy options include both short-term industry relief and longer-term recovery incentives among four key areas: direct financial relief through grants, job protection through tax credits, recovery incentives such as tourism promotion, and legal protections. We encourage you to consider these options as ways to get our industry—and the millions of jobs we support—back on its feet again.”