The International Inbound Travel Association (IITA) has called on Congress to provide relief funding for inbound tour operators who were forced into a federally-mandated shutdown since March 2020.
Though the EU recently announced it would be taking a step toward relaxing travel rules for fully vaccinated tourists, the international inbound travel sector has been at a standstill, leaving inbound operators with no opportunity to do business for the last 14 months.
IITA, which is the nonprofit trade association for international travel to the U.S., has been advocating for expanding eligibility for the shuttered venue operator grants (SVOG) as proposed by the Securing Access for Venue Equity (SAVE) Act (H.R. 2120). The SAVE Act—sponsored by Representatives Mark Amodei of Nevada, Charlie Crist of Florida, Dina Titus of Nevada, and Bill Pascrell of New Jersey—provides more resources for SVOGs and specifically makes it possible for companies like inbound tour operators to be eligible.
The program provides grants for live venue operators and promoters and other businesses that suffered extreme loss of gross revenue between April 2020 through December 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In mid-May, IITA, NYC & Company and 40 inbound tour operators sent letters to Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) and Ranking Member Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) of the House Committee on Small Business asking for support to extend the SOVG program to tour operators, which would be of significant help to inbound tour companies, particularly as calls for reopening the U.S. for inbound travel are increasing.
"We believe it's important to raise our collective voices about the ongoing needs of the inbound travel sector," said Lisa Simon, CEO of IITA. "Whether it's the SOVG program or other relief and stimulus legislation, inbound operators need financial support to keep the lights on as we work our way back to normal inbound travel patterns."
IITA says it will continue to raise awareness of the impact the pandemic has had on international visitation.
Learn more by visiting IITA.
Courtesy of Groups Today.