The US travel sector has welcomed government support for the industry after it warned six million jobs are expected to be lost in the next five weeks.

In a statement US Travel Association President and chief executive Roger Dow said the progress through Congress of the $454 billion emergency CARES Act was a “great first step”.

But he said it “comes at a time when the American travel industry is facing catastrophic economic disaster, with almost six million travel-supported jobs expected to be lost in the next five weeks”.

Dow said: “We call upon the Department of the Treasury and the Small Business Administration to expedite the rulemaking process, within 10 days, to get this money out the door into the hands of those who so desperately need it.

“Businesses across America are being forced to shut their doors to customers and employees alike, and there is no time to wait.

“While the CARES Act represents tremendous progress toward keeping our economy functioning at this challenging and unprecedented moment, it is clear that more will need to be done to protect the livelihoods of American workers.

“This relief package will help create a bridge for some time, but there are some that this won’t help and the longer it takes to implement, the more jobs will be lost.

“We stand ready to work with Congress and the administration to ensure that the economy recovers as quickly as possible once the worst of the health crisis is finally past.”