When the Small Business Administration announced last week that it is no longer accepting Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) applications that were not yet approved by lenders, travel advisors were hard hit, says Travel Leaders Network. A survey of its members showed that more than one-third (36.7 percent) had already applied for a PPP loan as authorized under the CARES Act, but 94.8 percent reported not receiving approval or funding.
The survey results from participating Travel Leaders Network agency owners represents a microcosm of many other small business owners whose businesses have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to those who applied for the PPP and not yet received the funds, approximately 60 percent of respondents applied for the SBA Disaster Loan and 98.9 percent had not receive funds, while 51 percent had applied for the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency (EIDL) Advance and 100 percent had not yet received the $10,000 advance from the EIDL.
"Paycheck protection is desperately needed for travel advisors, who are in a commission-based business payable only after the date of travel, hampering the cash flow and the ability of agency owners to be able to afford to pay staff when people aren't traveling," Roger E. Block, president of Travel Leaders Network, said in an official release. "This industry will recover, but at a slower pace than, say, a restaurant or a hair salon that will have the cash flow as soon as someone pays.”
“That's why financial relief programs are very critical to the long-term viability of some of the agencies in our network who have seen revenue declines of 70, 80 and 90 percent in the past few weeks," he adds.
Travel Leaders Network, and its parent company, Travel Leaders Group, says it has joined with the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) in lobbying for additional funding options for its member agencies so that they can continue to pay staff to assist clients with their short-term and long-term travel planning.
Through the global COVID-19 crisis, Travel Leaders Network has been offering a variety of support above and beyond its usual offerings, including online resources, live webinars, on-demand lessons and workshops.
This article originally appeared on www.travelagentcentral.com.