WASHINGTON, N.J. (PRWEB) April 29, 2020
The Greater New Jersey Motorcoach Association (GNJMA) has issued an urgent call for help to the federal government to provide the motorcoach, tour and travel industry with COVID-19 stimulus funding, including $10 billion in grants-in-aid, $5 billion in loans and an extension of the terms in the Paycheck Protection Program to Dec. 31, 2020 to accommodate the industry’s unique circumstances.
The industry transports nearly 600 million passengers each year and contributes nearly $101 billion in direct economic impact to the nation. In the wake of COVID-19, nearly all of the industry’s 3,000 businesses have shut down, laying off almost 88,000 employees. They are expected to lose $8 billion through August and experience many permanent closures unless the federal government intervenes.
Meanwhile airlines, airports, public transit and rail industries have received COVID-19 relief funds. Yet, the small businesses that form the backbone of the motorcoach, tour and travel industry have not received any relief — despite providing an essential service for both communities across the country and critical emergency response efforts.
“Our industry has been crippled by the sudden outbreak of COVID-19,” said Tim Stout, president of GNJMA and Stout’s Transportation, Trenton, NJ. “Businesses across the country were forced to shut down, leaving many members unemployed and many of our businesses inadequately positioned to reopen. We are there time and time again for our country, including during natural disasters, moving military members, and for events like the presidential inauguration. We now ask the country and Congress to support us in our time of need.”
Motorcoaches are a critical part of FEMA and state emergency response efforts to provide support and supplies, and the industry supports the U.S. Department of Defense by transporting U.S. troops and their equipment for deployments and training around the country. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) formerly designated “bus drivers and workers who provide or support intercity, commuter, or charter bus services,” as essential critical infrastructure workers.
In New Jersey, the industry employs thousands of people and billions of dollars in total economic activity is attributed to motorcoach group tourism. According to Stout, without economic relief, there will be significant permanent closures among motorcoach operators which will result in potentially devastating economic impact, calculated in the billions, to the New Jersey tourism industry.
The GNJMA is a representative group of dynamic leaders in the motorcoach, casino and travel industry. We represent bus operators and owners on matters of collective interest in the state of New Jersey and its region. The association works in cooperation with industry associations, local, state, and federal agencies, legislators, vendors, attractions, and destinations to promote the betterment and welfare of our industry, members, and association objectives. We take proactive steps in promoting safety in the motorcoach industry by sponsoring safety workshops for bus drivers, driver excellence award programs, inspection workshops, scholarship program and industry professional awards. For more information, please visit http://www.gnjma.com, or contact Patricia Cowley, Executive Director, at 908-750-4538, firstname.lastname@example.org.