Travel organizations warned that a government shutdown will impact the traveling public and could cost the travel industry hundreds of millions of dollars.
Absent a spending agreement between the U.S. Senate, House and the White House to pass a short-term extension, the government will shut down on Sept. 30 at midnight.
The U.S. Travel Association called on Congress to pass the extension.
“This completely avoidable situation threatens livelihoods and jobs across the U.S. economy,” said U.S. Travel CEO Geoff Freeman. “Ultimately, travelers, businesses and workers will pay the price if lawmakers fail to enact a stop-gap funding bill.”
U.S. Travel said a federal government shutdown will cost the U.S. travel economy as much as $140 million a day, “an unacceptable prospect that Congress must avoid before the clock runs out and the damages mount,” Freeman said.
During a government shutdown, U.S. Travel added, air travel is hampered by more flight delays and longer screening lines.
A new survey from Ipsos and U.S. Travel revealed that six in 10 Americans would cancel or avoid trips by air in the event of a shutdown and that a large majority of Americans, regardless of political party, are not in favor of a government shutdown, especially from a travel perspective.
More than eight in 10 of Americans agree that government shutdowns inconvenience air travelers (86%), impact businesses that depend on air travel (83%) an affect tourist attractions like national parks, museums and local businesses (83%).
In a statement, the U.S. Tour Operators Association said that if a shutdown occurs, many operations essential to travel will continue, such as airports and the processing of passports and visas. Essential personnel will remain on the job, including air traffic controllers, customs agents and airport security screeners.
USTOA said that the Department of Interior had not released a shutdown contingency plan for the U.S. national parks and said there is congressional pressure to keep the parks open and accessible in the event of a government shutdown.
Amtrak also will continue to operate as an independent agency, though any nonessential maintenance and capital improvements will cease, USTOA said.
U.S. Travel also called on Congress to pass a temporary extension of FAA programs, noting that FAA authorization also will expire on Sept. 30, saying that “inaction on an FAA renewal bill would further compound challenges for travelers.”
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