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U.S. travel industry calls for government help and new tax breaks to boost travel

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The coronavirus-hit U.S. travel industry on Friday asked Congress for $ 10 billion in federal grants to promote safe practices, new liability protections and tax credits for travelers and industry.

The US Travel Association, which represents hotels, car rental companies, American Express, airports and tourist agencies, also wants $ 13 billion for US airports and a refundable tax credit of up to 50%. travel expenses until the end of 2022 of up to $ 3,000. by family.

“As the virus continues to wreak havoc on society, the situation in the travel industry is only getting worse. The industry is now on track to shrink by $ 1.2 trillion by the end of the year, ”group policy chief Tori Emerson Barnes told Congress. “The travel industry faces an economic environment 10 times worse than after September 11th. “

The Labor Department said the travel industry has lost more than 4 million jobs since March.

The group also asked for additional help on the payroll and called for the reinstatement of the deduction for business expenses for restaurants and entertainment to encourage business spending, to strengthen a tax credit for employee retention.

The proposal comes in addition to a growing number of requests for government assistance.

Airline unions have asked for $ 32 billion in funds for carriers and contractors for wage costs, while transit agencies want up to $ 36 billion, Amtrak $ 1.5 billion and bus companies $ 15 billion.

U.S. passenger airlines, which have been approved for $ 50 billion in congressional grants and loans, said on Thursday they were not actively seeking help but would agree to a new bailout if it arrived without additional conditions.

Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer told reporters on Friday that “we have not received any requests from the airlines.”

Democrats have previously made sure that “workers are taken care of if the airlines need help and that will continue to be our watchword,” he added.

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