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Government Shutdown Looms, Threatening Travel

The U.S. Travel Association (USTA) warned that a federal government shutdown could cost the U.S. travel economy as much as $140 million a day, as it urged Congressional leaders to pass a short-term bill to fund the government.

The new survey from Ipsos U.S Travel found six in 10 Americans would cancel or avoid trips by air in the event of a shutdown. The survey also found that more than 80 percent of Americans would hurt the economy.

The vast majority of respondents said the government shutdown, which will occur October 1 unless funding bills are passed by the U.S. Congress by the end of September, would inconvenience air travelers, impact businesses that depend on air travelers, and hurt tourist attractions like national parks, museums and local businesses.

“Each day that passes will cost the travel economy $140 million, an unacceptable prospect that Congress must avoid before the clock runs out and the damages mount,” said Geoff Freeman, U.S. Travel Association president and CEO. “The federal government is already failing the travelers—a shutdown would be further proof of Washington’s inability to find reasonable solutions to problems that affect Americans nationwide.”

Coinciding with the federal budget deadline, the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) authorization is set to expire on September 30. Congress has yet to pass a full FAA reauthorization bill, so they must pass a temporary extension of FAA programs. Inaction on an FAA renewal bill would further compound challenges for travelers, the USTA added.

“This completely avoidable situation threatens livelihoods and jobs across the U.S. economy,” said Freeman. “Ultimately, travelers, businesses and workers will pay the price if lawmakers fail to enact a stop-gap funding bill.”