b'LETTER FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOROptimism for the Future AT THE HELMJOHN GROUNDWATER // EXECUTIVE DIRECTORAs you know by now, several hundred PVA members gathered lastPVAS WORK ON CERTS AND RRF CONTINUESmonthforthePVAAnnualConventionatMariTrends2022inRecognizing that the effects of the coronavirus pandemic have had Covington, Ky. These members were glad to get together after severaldeep and lasting impacts upon the passenger vessel industry, PVA years apart, and a spirit of camaraderie and fellowship permeated thecontinuestoworkwithindustrypartnersinWashingtonD.C.to event. In addition, a sense of optimism abounded for the upcomingurge Congress to provide additional emergency coronavirus funding. seasonforthepassengervesselindustryat-large.WhiletherewillWhile initial rounds of funding provided needed assistance to help undoubtedlybechallengesonthehorizon,itwasclearthatPVAPVA members survive the onslaught of the pandemic, this funding fell members are thrilled with the prospects of operating in an improvingshort of actual needs. post-pandemic environment. We heard that customer demand appears to be growingIn2021,PVApersuadedleadersofthe and corporate business, which completelyHave you consideredSmall Business Association (SBA) to make disappeared during the pandemic, is slowlypassengervesseldinnercruisevessels coming back. This is certainly good newsvolunteering for aoperations eligible to apply for grants under for the passenger vessel industry which wasthe Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). literally ravaged due to the ongoing effectsPVA committee?NumerousPVAmemberssuccessfully of the coronavirus.applied and received funds under the RRF, Participating as a PVAbut the original $28.6 billion quickly ran PVA Convention keynote speaker Amirvolunteer is not onlyout,leavingmanyPVAmembers,aswell Eylon,presidentandCEO,oftravelas many restaurants, without any financial researchfirmLongwoodsInternationalproductive, but is alsoassistance.Recognizingthisunfortunate paintsapositivepictureforupcomingshortfall, the House of Representatives, this domestictravelsaying,Springandextremely rewarding.month voted to provide an additional $42 summer travel look strong for 2022. Withbillion for the RRF. Similar legislation in COVID-19restrictionsandmandatesthe Senate would provide $40 billion for the being dropped across the country, most travelers are comfortableRRF. This is good news for PVA member dinner cruise operators, and with these developments. This waves data confirms Americans arethose members also operating shoreside restaurants, who were left out ready to move on from the pandemic and get back out on the roadof the first round of RRF funding. and in the air.PVA also continues to advocate for an additional round of funding Barringsomenewsetback,themuch-awaitedshiftinmindsetfortheCoronavirusEconomicReliefforTransportationServices among American travelers from pandemic to endemic travel finally(CERTS) Program. If you will recall, in 2021, after many months of maybeunderway,saidMr.Eylon.Hopefully,theinterestinlobbying Congress, numerous PVA member companies received much resuming international trips by American travelers also means thatneeded financial grants when Congress provided $2 billion under the the U.S. will be hosting growing numbers of international visitorsCERTS program. from around the world.An additional $2 billion is included in recently introduced legislation At the same time, the U.S. Travel Association, who tracks business andin the Senate for the CERTS grant program in 2022. If approved, consumer travel trends, says that domestic leisure travel will surpassthislegislationwouldprovideanadditionalroundoffundingfor pre-pandemic levels in 2022 and beyond. Domestic business travelcompanies that received grants in 2021 and provides an opportunity spending is expected to reach 76 percent of 2019 levels in 2022, whilefor companies who did not apply for CERTS grants to do so in 2022. the segment is not expected to fully recover until 2024. InternationalPVA has also been working to convince Congress to amend the CERTS inbound travel spending is forecasted to reach 72 percent of 2019 levelsprogram to make past and future grants non-taxable. Current CERTS in 2022, and to fully recover only in 2024 or 2025. grantsaretaxable,unlikeothercoronavirusemergencyfunding programs.Thismonth,CongressmanJimmyPanettaintroduced Nearly nine in 10 Americans (85 percent) are expecting to travel thislegislation in the House that would make CERTS grants non-taxable. summer, according to the U.S. Travel Association. On a more somber note, U.S. Travel Association research shows that close to six in 10 (59VOLUNTEERISM IS FOUNDATION OF PVApercent) American travelers believe travel prices are too high right nowAs you may know, PVA offers it members a wide variety of programs and one third reported that high prices prevented them from travelingandtoolstoimprovetheiroperations.WhethertheAlternative in the past month. So, it appears that inflation coupled with higherSecurityProgram(ASP),theonlinecrewtrainingprogram,the fuel prices may be problematic.Green WATERS Program, the Flagship Safety Management System, Continued on page 377 APRIL 2022'