A group of more than 80 travel-industry organizations announced their support for the Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act of 2021, in a joint letter sent to Capitol Hill on Feb. 25. The bipartisan bill, which was first unveiled in October and reintroduced this week, includes tax credits and other incentives to support the hospitality industry.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the leisure and hospitality industry accounts for a staggering 39 percent of all U.S. jobs lost to the pandemic. In fact, 2020 was the worst year on record for U.S. hotels and the industry lost another 61,000 jobs in January. (Read the latest on where hotels are reopening or closing permanently here).
The Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act is intended to stimulate the economy and accelerate the industry's recovery. Specifically, the bill would:
- Establish a tax credit that would cover the cost of attending or hosting a convention, business meeting or trade show in the U.S. between Jan. 1, 2022 and Dec. 31, 2024.
- Extend the employee retention tax credit, from July 1, 2021 to Jan. 1, 2022.
- Temporarily restore the entertainment business expense deduction.
- Create an individual tax credit to stimulate non-business travel within the U.S. between Jan. 1, 2021 and Dec. 31, 2023.
- Establish a tax credit for restaurants and food-service businesses, which would cover any cost associated with
reopening or increasing service due to the pandemic — including any renovation, remediation, testing or labor cost needed to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The credit would remain in effect until Dec. 31, 2022.
- Provide a temporary perishable food-and-beverage tax credit to help small businesses cover the costs of inventory lost during Covid closures, between March 13, 2020 and Sept. 30, 2020.
The bill is sponsored by Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND), along with Representatives Steven Horsford (D-NV), Darin LaHood (R-IL), Tom Rice (R-SC) and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA).
U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow called the bill "crucial" to rebuilding the industry. According to Dow, "The evidence is abundantly clear: There will not be a U.S. economic recovery without a travel recovery, and travel cannot recover without strong and innovative policy assistance."
In an effort to secure more support for the bill, the U.S. Travel Association submitted a letter to Capitol Hill on Feb. 25, urging Congress to swiftly pass the legislation. The letter was co-signed by more than 80 industry organizations, including Northstar Travel Group, the parent company of Northstar Meetings Group. Hotels, convention and visitor bureaus, destination marketing companies and more also rallied behind the bill and signed the letter of support. The long list of signatories includes the following: