March 18, 2020 / 9:00 PM / 15 days ago

U.S. travel industry's revised estimates project 4.6 mln job losses by May

WASHINGTON, March 18 (Reuters) - The U.S. Travel Association on Wednesday said it estimates the coronavirus outbreak will lead to 4.6 million job losses by May and not the end of the year as it had previously estimated.

The latest data shows that $202 billion in direct travel spending and 4.6 million jobs will disappear before May, it said in a statement on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, American hotel and travel industry executives from companies such as Marriott and Hilton met with U.S. President Donald Trump to discuss a potential $250 billion aid package, as thousands of hotel workers began furloughs due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The requested package would consist of $150 billion in direct aid for the hotel sector and $100 billion for related travel companies, including convention businesses.

“The news we have for policymakers and the public is very challenging: the 15.8 million American jobs supported by travel are directly in the crosshairs of the health crisis, and the only thing that’s going to protect them is aggressive financial relief right now,” the group’s President and CEO Roger Dow said.

“We’re witnessing the shutdown of travel. The economic effects of that are already disastrous, but could become worse and permanent unless the government acts now,” Dow added. (Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington; Editing by David Gregorio)

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