Kathleen Rice Leads Bipartisan Effort to Support Tourism Industry
Rice called on House and Senate leadership to expand the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to include travel and tourism entities
WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Kathleen Rice (NY-04) led a bipartisan letter to House and Senate Leadership calling for the expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a federal relief program that helps businesses and other organizations keep their workforce employed, to include destination marketing organizations (DMOs), conventions and visitors’ bureaus (CVBs), and state tourism offices as eligible applicants. U.S. Representatives Tom Suozzi (NY-03), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Anthony Brindisi (NY-22), John Katko (NY-24), and Joe Morelle (NY-25) joined Rice on the letter.
“So many communities on Long Island, in New York State, and throughout the nation rely on tourism to generate economic activity,” said Rep. Kathleen Rice. “Unfortunately, many of the organizations and offices responsible for driving tourism in these communities have had to cut staff due to the coronavirus crisis. That’s why I am urging House and Senate leadership to expand the Paycheck Protection Program so we can ensure these organizations are fully-staffed and prepared to help our tourism industry recover once we get this virus under control.”
“Tourism businesses across the region look to Discover Long Island to attract visitors from around the globe to support more than 100,000 local jobs and our $6.1 billion visitor economy. As an organization that relies on hotel/motel taxes as our primary source of funding, our budget is decimated for the undetermined future, and our ineligibility for the PPP program due to our C(6) non-profit status limits our ability to assist our local businesses and tourism industry in this most desperate time of need,” said Kristen Jarnagin, President & CEO of Discover Long Island. "While tourism and hospitality was among the first and most negatively affected industries resulting from the Pandemic crisis, this industry is also historically the first to lead in economic generation and job creation in times of recovery. We could not be more grateful to our Congressional leaders and elected officials for their steadfast support of ensuring that non-profit organizations like ours have access to the assistance that we need in order to lead recovery initiatives for our community.”
“On behalf of New York City’s entire tourism and hospitality industry, we thank Congresswoman Rice and other Members of Congress for supporting nonprofit destination marketing organizations such as NYC & Company so we can continue our vital work,” said Fred Dixon, NYC & Company President and CEO. “Representing almost 400,000 jobs and $70 billion in economic impact last year, the visitor economy is critical to New York City, and this support will enable us to restart the industry and emerge from this crisis.”
“Representing regions across New York, the group of policymakers calling for action on this issue speaks volumes to the importance of destination marketing organizations,” said U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President for Public Affairs & Policy Tori Emerson Barnes. “DMOs are economic drivers, championing small businesses in regions both urban in rural—in the Empire State and in every corner of America. When the time is right, these organizations will have a powerful role to play in attracting the visitors who will help fuel a nationwide economic recovery.”
The full text of the letter is available here and copied below:
Speaker Nancy Pelosi Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy
The Honorable Mitch McConnell The Honorable Charles E. Schumer
Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McCarthy, Leader McConnell and Leader Schumer:
Thank you for working tirelessly to pass important measures to protect our economy and working families from the COVID-19 outbreak. New programs, such as the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), have extended critical relief to many segments of our economy. However, this relief has not been felt everywhere. The travel and tourism industry is currently losing significant business, but the PPP is limited in its ability to help. As Congress considers reforming the PPP, we urge you to expand PPP eligibility to our country’s destination marketing organizations (DMOs), conventions and visitors’ bureaus (CVBs), and state tourism offices.
DMOs, CVBs and state tourism offices are primary drivers of economic activity that encourage tourism and travel in New York and every state and community across the country. In New York, especially, these institutions also provide thousands of meaningful jobs for individuals who are, unfortunately, now experiencing layoffs and furloughs. Despite the important role DMOs, CVBs, and state tourism offices play in driving customers to local small businesses and supporting local jobs, they are ineligible for relief provided to other employers through the PPP.
When the economy does reopen, it will be critical for these institutions to be fully staffed and capable to quickly restore economic development for communities nationwide.
We urge you to expand eligibility for the PPP to include DMOs, CVBs, and state tourism offices classified as 501(c)(6) or 501(c)(4) nonprofits and travel-related government organizations. Thank you for your attention and support as we continue to overcome the COVID-19 outbreak and ensure a swift and robust economic recovery.