The travel industry in the United States suffered a US$2.2 billion loss of revenue because of the shutdown of the US Federal Government, the US Travel Association estimates, putting tens of thousands of jobs at risk.
An estimated US$152 million in travel related spending was lost each day during the shutdown, threatening the livelihood of the 450,000 Americans woriking in the travel and travel related industries.
The importance of the travel industry should not be under estimated.
Top Service Export
Travel is the most important service export in the United States, and the travel industry has added jobs at a rate three times faster than the rest of the economy since recovery began in 2010.
“The shutdown’s damage cannot be undone, but reopening the government will allow America’s travel community to get back to work and continue to drive U.S. economic recovery,” says US Travel President and CEO Roger Dow.
“Though services such as security screening and air traffic control were largely unaffected by the shutdown, the closure of national parks and historic sites severely harmed the many local economies that depend upon visitors to those destinations.”
During the shutdown, Britain, China, Germany, and other countries issued travel advisories warning their citizens about the problems they might run into if they traveled to the United States, which could have long-term consequences for the country’s branding in the highly competitive international travel market.
“Economies hate uncertainty,” Roger says.
“Now that the shutdown has been concluded, the best thing our federal policymakers can do for our economy is to pursue a long-term fiscal plan that includes commitments to invest in our country’s aging travel infrastructure.”
From the Statue of Liberty to the Smithonian Institute to the Grand Canyon, national parks, museums, zoos, and monuments were shut down across the country, resulting not only in lost income for the employees that work at them.
Restaurants, hotels, tour operators, airlines, railroads, bus companies, and other travel related industries were affected.
Tens of thousands of domestic and foreign tourists were also disappointed and had their travel plans disrupted by the shutdown.
Not everything run by the government, however, was affected. Airports, for example, continued to operate and visas continued to be issued,