AHLA calls for additional financial support

Eloise Hanson Eloise Hanson Uploaded 22 July 2020

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US: The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) has sent a letter to congress calling for extra provisions to help protect hotels, its employees and guests.

The letter addresses several key areas, including extending the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for severely impacted businesses and their employees; creating targeted lending facilities and liquidity measures to help hoteliers meet debt service; and passing tax reforms to benefit both hotel employees and employers.

According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS), the leisure and hospitality sector has lost 4.8 million jobs since February. This equates to more jobs than construction, manufacturing, retail, education and health services combined.

Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the AHLA, said: “Our industry was among the first impacted by the pandemic and will be one of the last to recover. We are a major economic driver, supporting millions of jobs and generating billions in tax revenue. Getting our economy back on track starts with supporting the hotel industry and tourism in general. We need Congress to continue to prioritise the industries and employees most affected by the crisis, so that help is directed to the businesses that need it most.”

The AHLA is s urging congress to provide immediate assistance in the below areas:

  • Provide additional liquidity for severely impacted businesses through a targeted extension of the Paycheck Protection Program.
  • Create hotel industry relief opportunities, utilising Federal Reserve and Treasury authority.
  • Establish a Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities (CMBS) market relief fund, with a specific focus on the hotel industry.
  • Make structuring changes to the Main Street Lending Facility established under the CARES Act.
  • Include limited liability language to provide a limited safe harbour from exposure liability for hotels that reopen and follow public health guidance.
  • Include targeted tax provisions that will benefit severely injured businesses and their employees, including tax credits for capital expenditures to meet the industry’s Safe Stay initiative; enhanced Employee Retention Credit; a temporary travel tax credit; exempting taxation on phantom income from loan modification forgiveness or cancellation; and allowing full deductibility of the food and entertainment business expense.

A recent survey conducted by Morning Consult, commissioned by the AHLA, found that 70 per cent of Americans support passing additional economic stimulus for the industries most negatively impacted by the pandemic.

61 per cent said they would support restoring temporary federal travel tax credit to encourage people to travel, and 57 per cent stated they would support the business entertainment expense deduction to encourage business travel.

“With a presence in every congressional district in America, hotels are central to getting our economy back on track and supporting millions of jobs. Americans overwhelmingly support efforts by congress to provide the hotel industry with additional support so that we can keep our doors open and bring back our employees,” concluded Rogers.

The full AHLA letter can be downloaded here.

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