Friday, 3 Jul 2020

Lindblad Expeditions Returns $6.6 Million COVID-19 Relief Loan

Lindblad Expeditions has returned a $6.6 million loan it recently received under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small business, with CEO Sven Lindblad calling it “the right thing to do, given the environment.”

In a Washington Post editorial published Friday, the expedition cruise line’s founder said his company applied and was approved for the emergency funding due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has halted cruise operations since mid-March.

However, Lindblad Expeditions was among the many publicly traded companies to receive harsh criticism from the media and elected officials for accepting the relief funds.

According to Lindblad, the negative press “led to concerns from many of our core loyal guests who could not reconcile their view of us as a responsible, and environmentally and culturally respectful company with the idea of us taking funds from this program.”

“We now find ourselves in the unenviable position of being approved for a loan that is no longer tenable for us to accept. We have decided to return the loan,” wrote Lindblad. “Our hope is that the money can be redistributed to the large number of small businesses, especially those in the travel industry—travel agencies, tour operators, app developers, reviewers, local artisans and our extensive supplier network—that most need the assistance to stay in business.”

Lindblad said that the cruise line doesn’t qualify for any other government loans and that “access to capital for a company our size is challenging and costly,” leaving it no choice but to lay off or furlough workers to protect the business.

Lindblad Expeditions employs more than 460 workers in the United States.

“As this crisis unfolds, we urge Congress and the administration to look for ways to help companies such as ours—each one of which employs hundreds of skilled American workers—to gain access to the affordable capital needed to survive,” added Lindblad.

“We hope new action is coming soon from the government to help companies such as ours that fall between the cracks of current relief efforts.”

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