WASHINGTON, DC, has resolved two issues that have been the subject of advocacy by hospitality industry associations, freezing federal per day travel expense rates and expanding the economic disaster loan program. However, there is still a long way to go, as the US Travel Association lobbies for the passage of a bipartisan infrastructure spending bill.
Per diem rates for FY2022, published on August 13 to take effect October 1, although generally based on historical ADR data, will be frozen at FY2021 levels of $ 151 to keep them comparable to pre-COVID-19 levels. The move was made “to ensure that maximum accommodation allowances for federal travelers are sufficient in fiscal 2022 as the accommodation industry recovers,” the GSA said in a statement.
“The GSA is focused on evidence-based policy development that strives to balance the mission demands of federal agencies, the needs of federal employees, and the interests of the American public,” said Krystal Brumfield, government-wide associate policy administrator who develops and publishes annual daily rates. “Fairness in the way we collect, analyze, apply and publish data is a top priority for GSA. Ultimately, we want federal travelers to be able to find affordable accommodation when they return to critical and urgent official travel necessary to accomplish their essential duties. “
The GSA has also revised its meal and incidental rates for the continental United States for fiscal year 2022 from $ 55 to $ 59, and the rates for non-standard zone levels have been updated from 56. $- $ 76 to $ 59- $ 79.
The AAHOA and the American Hotel & Lodging Association welcomed the decision and both pushed for the restored, fair and adjusted housing law on the coronavirus that would also have frozen per diems. AAHOA members sent out 561 letters, held 302 meetings and deployed 175 lawyers in the pursuit of the per diem decision, said Ken Greene, AAHOA interim president and CEO. Daily rates are crucial for hotels that see a lot of business from government travelers.
“These are the figures from the AAHOA GSA per diems campaign and Virtual Action Summit meetings, where AAHOA members pleaded with their elected officials to freeze per diem rates,” Greene said. “AAHOA has been advocating with lawmakers to co-sponsor and pass bills to establish fair daily rates for months, and it is great to see the efforts of AAHOA members paying off. “
Like Greene, Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA, called the GSA decision on per diem rates a fair course of action.
“This is a big win for hoteliers across the country, as government travel supports tens of thousands of jobs and billions in travel spending, and many private sector organizations also base travel reimbursements on federal per diem rates, ”Rogers said. “Freezing daily rates to pre-pandemic levels is vital for the hospitality industry as we continue on the long and uneven road to recovery. We are grateful to the GSA for their work in ensuring reasonable daily rates for FY22, and we look forward to welcoming our government guests again when travel resumes.
The AAHOA has also supported recent changes made by the Small Business Administration to the EIDL model. These program enhancements and extensions include:
- Raise the threshold to $ 2 million per property
- Increase in the overall loan limit up to $ 10 million
- A waiver of the affiliate rules (which mirrors the paycheck protection program)
- A waiver of the credit requirement elsewhere
- Priority for companies under NAICS code 72
- A fixed 30-year amortization period with a low interest rate of 3.75%
- EIDL funds can now be used to repay past commercial debt and make monthly payments for federal debt (including principal and interest payments)
“Improvements to the EIDL program remove barriers for hoteliers to access the essential funds they need, as hoteliers continue to struggle to cope with the ramifications of the pandemic,” said Greene.
The next big push for industry advocates in the nation’s capital is the infrastructure bill that was passed by the Senate and is currently under consideration in the House, according to the USTA. Along with improving highways, railways and other infrastructure in the United States, the bill would stimulate the economy, said Tori Emerson Barnes, executive vice president of public affairs and policy at USTA. .
“By investing in the future of infrastructure today, we can ensure greater long-term competitiveness and emerge from the pandemic with systems that are stronger than ever,” said Barnes. “In addition to providing the necessary funding for U.S. airports, roads and bridges, and other innovative projects such as electric vehicle charging infrastructure and high-speed rail, the bill also establishes a leadership role. key to the Department of Transportation to help coordinate travel and tourism. policy, a crucial asset as we rebuild our industry and prepare to welcome visitors from around the world again.