The Passenger Vessel Association (PVA) has sent a letter to President Trump urging him to take immediate action to include U.S. passenger vessel operators in the administration’s plans to provide economic assistance to American businesses that have experienced financial hardship due to the coronavirus.

“As tax-paying U.S. companies, employing thousands of U.S. citizens, we urge you to remember the important role that the domestic passenger vessel industry plays in travel, tourism, and transportation by including our industry in your economic relief plans,” said PVA 2020 President, Colleen Stephens.

In its letter, PVA stressed that economic damage is being inflicted on PVA vessel members in every region of the nation, citing also that many PVA members are small family-owned operations. The association noted that as discretionary travel plummets, PVA members are seeing their customer base diminish and, with weeks of reduced or no revenue, their ability to meet debt obligations and to pay employees will be jeopardized.

Following is the text of the PVA letter:

Dear Mr. President:

As part of America’s travel and transportation sector, operators of U.S.flagged passenger vessels are suffering economic hardship and experiencing steep declines in reservations and ridership because of the coronavirus outbreak. As tax-paying U.S. companies, employing thousands of U.S. citizens, we urge you to remember the important role that the domestic passenger vessel industry plays in travel, tourism, and transportation by including our industry in your economic relief plans.

The Passenger Vessel Association (PVA) is the national trade association representing owners and operators of U.S.-flagged passenger vessels of all types. PVA’s membership includes about 600 companies with approximately 1,600 U.S. -flagged vessels regulated by the U.S. Coast Guard. A large portion of PVA’s membership consists of private businesses, most of which are small businesses. Many of our members are family-owned operations or are seasonal. As discretionary travel plummets, PVA members are seeing their customer base diminish. As you can imagine, weeks of reduced or no revenue will jeopardize their ability to meet debt obligations and to pay employees.

The U.S. passenger vessel industry has “small ship” overnight cruise companies on our inland rivers, in southeast Alaska, and along our coasts and in the Great Lakes. These operators, which are U.S.-flagged and U.S- crewed, have passenger capacities from 20 to several hundred, which is in sharp contrast to the large oceangoing cruise ships. We urge you to ensure that any restrictive measures aimed at large cruise ships do not apply to these American companies.

Economic damage is being inflicted on PVA vessel members in every region of the nation. Alaska, Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico are particularly hard hit because of declining commercial air travel.

U.S. ferry routes are an integral part of America’s transportation network. They provide commuter service in urban areas and serve as extensions of state highway systems in other locations.

Mr. President, the small passenger vessel industry is an important player in our nation’s travel, tourism and transportation markets. We need your help immediately, and we urge you include our operators in your plans to provide economic assistance to U.S. businesses.

Sincerely,

Colleen Stephens

PVA President, 2020

The post PVA to Trump: Include us in coronavirus economic assistance plans appeared first on Marine Log.

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