Travel Leaders Group has requested immediate assistance for travel agency businesses around the country that are in danger of shutting down.

The Group’s CEO J.D. O’Hara sent an urgent request to the President, the Treasury Secretary, and House and Senate Leadership, asking for a relief package for travel agencies, many of which are small businesses.

Details of the request included cash flow replacement grants of $10 billion and no-interest loans or loan guarantees of at least $20 billion in order to pay workers, benefits, creditors and various other assistance. O’Hara stressed that the financial impact on travel of the COVID-19 pandemic would dwarf any downturn in recent history, and without the survival of travel agencies—an essential element of the distribution channel—a travel industry recovery would be next to impossible.

“The interconnected travel industry is in serious peril if all of its elements are not included in a relief package. A workable package must include travel agencies and travel management companies (TMCs),” O’Hara stated in press materials.

Travel Leaders Group’s collection of businesses account for approximately $20 billion in annual travel sales, with more than 4,000 employees and a U.S. network of more than 50,000 advisors. The company estimates that, through mid-March, transactions have declined by 60-90 percent and are worsening as more countries close borders.

In 2019, travel agencies sold more than $76.5 billion in airline tickets covering more than 302 million passenger trips. Travel agencies sell over two-thirds of cruises and 68 percent of tours, according to research consultancy Phocuswright. There were nearly 13 million annual cruise passengers from U.S. ports in 2018.

“Travel advisors have been a lifeline for business and leisure travelers who have found themselves stranded as flights are cancelled and borders are closed, helping them find a way home,” said O’Hara in a press release statement separate to the letter. “Our people have been working around the clock to assist travelers with rebookings and cancellations, while navigating through the ever-changing policies and conditions,” he said. “They have been caring for their clients, while cutting back on expenses and trying to manage cash flow to save their businesses.”

For more information visit TravelLeadersGroup.com. Don’t miss“11 Tips from Travel Advisors During this ‘Down Time.’” For more information on the Coronavirus situation, visit Recommend’s Coronavirus Updates Center atrecommend.com/coronavirus.