The U.S. travel industry is taking a “catastrophic” hit from the fallout of the new coronavirus as spending nosedives and possibly millions of people lose their jobs, a new report says.
Nationally, the drop-off in travel over fears of the new virus is expected to inflict an $ 809 billion hit on the economy, with as many as 4.6 million jobs wiped out this year, the U.S. Travel Association said in a news release Tuesday.
Travel spending, including on transportation, hotels and attractions, is projected to fall by $ 355 billion this year, and the industry’s losses alone could be “severe enough to push the U.S. into a protracted recession,” the group said.
“The health crisis has rightly occupied the public’s and government’s attention, but a resulting catastrophe for employers and employees is already here and going to get worse,” the association’s president and CEO, Roger Dow, said in the release.
Dow presented the data, prepared by research firm Tourism Economics, at a White Housing meeting with President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and others Tuesday, his group said.
“This situation is completely without precedent,” Dow said. “For the sake of the economy’s long-term health, employers and employees need relief now from this disaster that was created by circumstances completely out of their control.”
The White House is proposing a roughly $ 850 billion emergency economic rescue package for businesses and taxpayers, a sweeping stimulus package unseen since the Great Recession.
Like other cities, Las Vegas is shutting down over fears of the virus, upending daily life in Southern Nevada.
As people quickly cut back on air travel and big gatherings, waves of conventions have been canceled or postponed and casinos are temporarily shutting down or otherwise slashing operations, threatening the foundation of the valley’s economy.
Contact Eli Segall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter. The Associated Press contributed to this report.