New data from the U.S. Travel Association underscores how a nationwide economic recovery will not be possible until Congress prioritizes emergency relief legislation for all segments of the travel industry.

$360 billion—or $2 billion per day—has been drained from the overall U.S. economy since March as a result of decreased travel demand due to the pandemic, according to research prepared by Tourism Economics.

Half of all travel-supported U.S. jobs have been wiped out between the onset of the pandemic and May 1. Prior to COVID-19, travel-supported U.S. jobs had provided employment for one in 10 Americans.

According to the report, “Travel spending continued its anemic performance during the week ending August 29, registering less than 1 percent growth. Weekly travel spending ticked upward to 57 percent of last year’s level—the highest level seen since the week ending March 14. National weekly travel spending tallied $13.0 billion—slightly ahead of last week. Air travel continues to struggle, contracting from the previous week to less than 29 percent of its 2019 level.

“Car trips also saw a drop from the previous week, falling from 87 percent of 2019 levels to 72 percent. The travel economy measured 43 percent below last year’s levels for the week ending August 29, resulting in a $10.0 billion loss when compared to the same week a year ago. Since the beginning of March, the U.S. travel economy’s losses from the COVID-19 pandemic have surpassed $360 billion.”

To restore these lost jobs and spur an economic recovery, U.S. Travel is calling on the U.S. Senate to quickly pass its newly introduced relief bill, which includes the enhancement and expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program to provide critical aid to destination marketing organizations.

“It’s clear that travel jobs—which were by far the hardest-hit of any sector—won’t recover on their own,” said Tori Barnes, U.S. Travel Association’s executive v.p. for public affairs and policy, in a press release statement. “The ‘skinny’ relief bill moving through the Senate has good components, and we’re urging Congress to recognize that substantial and immediate aid for travel employers is really vital for the entire U.S. job market.

“Many travel employers were left out of earlier rounds of legislative relief, and Congress must work quickly to ensure these businesses can continue to operate and help power an economic recovery in every corner of America.”

The travel industry is advocating for a number of other legislative priorities to be included in a final relief package, and urges Congress and the administration to quickly come together on a deal that provides relief, protection and stimulus to all sectors of the travel industry.

For read the full report, click here.