Joe Biden, Kamala Harris Sworn in as President and Vice President

(White House)

Joseph R. Biden Jr. has officially been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. According to The New York Times, he takes office “at a moment of profound economic, health and political crises with a promise to seek unity after a tumultuous four years that tore at the fabric of American society.” The ceremony was led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

The ceremony was completed after Kamala Devi Harris was sworn in as vice president by Justice Sonia Sotomayor—becoming the first woman, Black American or person of South Asian decent to hold the vice presidency.

In his first 100 days, President Biden plans to enact a $1.9 trillion relief bill aimed at combating the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn. Among the inclusion in the bill is $400 billion to combat the virus directly (such as vaccine distribution), $350 billion for state and local governments, $15 billion for a new grant program for small business, unemployment benefits and more.

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Here’s what the travel industry has to say:

U.S. Travel Association

U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow issued the following statement: “On behalf of America’s travel and tourism industry, I congratulate President Biden and Vice President Harris on their inauguration and welcome their leadership in Washington.

“President Biden is acutely aware of the economic pain the pandemic has inflicted on our industry and its workforce, and we are encouraged by the administration’s focus on providing additional, direct relief to businesses in the hardest-hit industries.

“Travel supported one in 10 jobs prior to the pandemic, powering the economy and providing jobs in urban and rural communities alike. It is well within reach to return America to the record growth the travel industry experienced prior to the pandemic through national strategies that will revive the American economy, shorten the recovery, and help unite a divided nation as travel is uniquely equipped to do.

“And given President Biden’s well-known affinity for Amtrak, we share a common priority to connect our cities with improved national and regional mobility across all modes of travel infrastructure—passenger rail as well as airports, highways and public transit—to facilitate greater travel and tourism.

“Vice President Harris has represented one of the largest state tourism economies in the country and has seen firsthand travel’s positive impact on local communities. We also acknowledge the deep significance of Vice President Harris being not only the first woman, but the first Black and Indian-American woman, to serve in this high role—a fitting reflection of America’s diverse populace.

“U.S. Travel again congratulates President Biden and Vice President Harris and stands ready to work with the new administration and the Congress to rebuild the U.S. travel industry, restore millions of travel-related jobs in the years ahead, and to safely bring people across the country and around the world together once again.”

American Hotel & Lodging Association

The following is a statement from Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association: “On behalf of the hotel industry, we congratulate President Biden and Vice President Harris on their inauguration. Today’s peaceful transfer of power marks a new chapter as our country moves forward together. Over the last year, our nation, and the world, has faced incredible difficulties, but we are resilient, and working together we can overcome these historic challenges.

“As an industry, we continue to face historically low occupancy rates, massive job loss, and record hotel closures. Our industry needs help to retain and rehire our associates, revive our local communities, and restart our economy. While the vaccine rollout has begun, it will likely take months to widely distribute, and travel is not expected to return to 2019 levels until 2023. We urge Congress and the new Administration to come together on a longer-term stimulus package that will ensure our industry survives so that the men and women who are the backbone and heart of hospitality can get back to work and unleash the power of the American dream.

“Beyond COVID relief and economic recovery, hoteliers look forward to working with President Biden and his Administration on other key priorities, including comprehensive immigration reform, tax reform, and infrastructure investment. AHLA will continue advancing the needs of hotel employees and our small business operators during this critical time for our industry and we stand ready to support the new Congress and Administration.”

This article originally appeared on www.travelagentcentral.com.

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