The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) on Wednesday came out to support legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) that would provide a tax credit for travel, offering an incentive for Americans to book a vacation and support the hard-hit tourism and hospitality industries in the U.S.
The bill, called the American TRIP Act, would provide a $4,000 travel credit for individuals who spend money on lodging, entertainment, and other expenses related to travel in the United States and its territories. Joint filers would receive $8,000, plus an additional $500 credit for dependent children.
Americans would be eligible for the tax credit as long as they travel within the United States and its territories after Dec. 31, 2019, and before Jan. 1, 2022, according to the bill.
McSally said Arizona has lost billions in revenue this year alone due to the pandemic, and the bill “will help boost domestic travel and jumpstart the comeback of our hotels, entertainment sectors, local tourism agencies, and the thousands of businesses that make Arizona one of the best places in the world to visit.”
“While we remain focused on the relief phase of the coronavirus crisis – securing the maximum amount of financial relief for our members to help them weather the storm – collectively we will soon need to focus on the recovery phase. Coupled with clear and consistent federal health guidance across travel modes, stimulating demand along the lines of what’s called for it in the American TRIP Act will be critical to the travel industry’s recovery,” said Eben Peck, executive vice president of Advocacy at ASTA.
Additionally, the bill provides $50 million in funding for Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) to promote the travel and tourism industry across the nation.
ASTA had been pushing government agencies to help boost consumer confidence in travel, which has been shaken by COVID-19. A recent TMR and MMGY survey found that nine in 10 advisors anticipate business being down more than 50% this year, with travelers right now more interested in staying in smaller hotels and in booking vacations more than seven months into the future.
Earlier this month, ASTA told the CDC to make restoring travel confidence a “priority.” In a letter from ASTA’s president and CEO Zane Kerby sent to Director Robert R. Redfield of the CDC, ASTA said:
“For the livelihood of these Americans, their families, their clients and the traveling public, it is critical that the travel industry rebound as quickly as possible,” Kerby wrote, explaining that messages from government health officials will outweigh those coming from other sources, including those from travel suppliers.
“For the federal government, this means the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) must have a central role in formulating specific guidelines for travel in the near future.”