Meetings Industry Rallies Behind Hospitality Job Recovery Act

Industry professionals are encouraged to contact their local legislators and share their support for the bill on social media. 

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Updated April 27, 2021.

The Exhibition and Conferences Alliance and the Go Live Together Coalition have launched a grassroots campaign to drum up support for the Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act of 2021. Meetings industry professionals are being asked to urge their local legislators to cosponsor the bill, which is designed to stimulate the economy and accelerate the recovery of travel and live events.

Event organizers, vendors, venues, convention and visitor bureaus, exhibitors, and attendees are all encouraged to use the online campaign page to send personalized letters to their state legislators. Visitors also have the option to send prewritten tweets on Twitter to spread the message on social media.

"We were one of the first industries shut down. We look to be one of the last allowed to reopen," reads the campaign page. "Our shutdown has been complete. No curbside pickups, partial openings or deliveries for us. We need to make legislators aware of our plight... Help drive the safe return of conferences, exhibitions and other business events by sharing a letter or tweet with your elected official and make your voice count."

What is in the Bill?

The travel and leisure industry was among the hardest hit by the pandemic and accounts for a staggering 39 percent of all U.S. jobs lost to Covid-19, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act aims to add 1.5 million jobs back to the economy and shorten the timeline for recovery and rehiring, from five years to three years. It also hopes to boost federal, state and local tax revenue by $43 billion, according to data from the U.S. Travel Association

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 nonbusiness 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 bipartisan bill is sponsored by Sensators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), along with Representatives Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), Darin LaHood (R-Ill.), Tom Rice (R-S.C.) and Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.). 

Who Supports It?

In February, a group of more than 80 travel-industry organizations announced their support for the bill, in a joint letter sent to Capitol Hill. The letter was submitted by the U.S. Travel Association and signed by dozens of hotels, convention and visitor bureaus, destination marketing companies and other industry organizations, including Northstar Travel Group, the parent company of Northstar Meetings Group.

U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow called the bill "crucial" to rebuilding the industry. He said, "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." 

The long list of signatories includes the following: