Industry Update
Press Release25 October 2001

Travel Industry Association of America (TIA) Applauds Expansion Of Sba Disaster Loan Program [inactive]

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U.S. Travel Association (USTA)

Washington, DC -- The Travel Industry Association of America (TIA) and the Travel Industry Recovery Coalition, comprising twenty-five of the leading U.S. travel industry organizations, applauds the decision made October 18 by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to expand its Economic Injury Disaster Loan program to small businesses across the country.

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Under the revised stipulations, loans will be extended to small businesses outside the declared disaster areas that are "unable to meet [their] financial obligations" or "unable to pay [their] ordinary and necessary operating expenses" as a result of the September 11 attacks. Small businesses may apply for up to $1.5 million in working capital loans at 4 percent interest to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills.

"A majority of travel and tourism organizations are small businesses struggling to keep their doors open in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Expansion of the SBA loan program is vital for their survival and we appreciate the Administration's support on this critical matter," said William S. Norman, president and CEO of the Travel Industry Association. Expansion of the SBA loan program is but one of six short-term economic stimulus provisions put forth TIA and the Travel Industry Recovery Coalition. TIA is asking Congress and the Administration to support H.R. 3140, introduced by Representatives Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and Alcee Hastings (D-FL). Provisions of the bill are as follows:

  • Provide for a $500 tax credit ($1000 for taxpayers filing jointly) for enumerated personal travel expenses for travel originating and occurring within North America (airplane, cruise, train and bus tickets, hotel and motel accommodations, and rental cars, but not meals) through the end of 2002.
  • Provide substantial federal funding, with private-sector support and input, for advertising campaigns to encourage travel to and within the United States.
  • Provide a workforce tax credit for training, retention, and hiring of travel and tourism industry workers; financial assistance to help employees meet COBRA payments and maintain their health insurance; and payroll tax relief for employers and employees.
  • Expand the SBA loan program to small businesses that would not otherwise qualify for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, with loans to be available at the lowest possible loan rate.
  • Restore full deductibility for those business entertainment expenses, including meals, that are now subject to a 50% deduction through the end of 2002. (The average business meal is less than $20 and does not include any alcoholic beverages at lunchtime.)
  • Expand the allowance for the carry back of net operating losses for taxpayers in the travel and tourism industry beyond the current two-year limit for losses attributable to the period 9/12/01-12/31/02.

"Stimulative measures like the SBA loan program are what the industry and the U.S. economy needs right now. We're not asking for a bailout from the U.S. government," remarked Norman. "We're looking for immediate, stimulative and short-term measures to get Americans traveling again, which in turn, will help bring the U.S. travel and tourism industry back to recovery."

TIA is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the $582 billion travel industry. TIA's mission is to represent the whole of the U.S. travel industry to promote and facilitate increased travel to and within the United States.

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