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Hotel Association Launches ‘Safe Stay’ with Event in Hawaii

HONOLULU– To highlight American Hotel & Lodging Association’s commitment to hosting guests in a safe and clean environment, the organization is partnering with states and elected officials to launch a series of “Safe Stay” events across the country to increase awareness among travelers about the industry’s health and safety protocols. An event in Hawaii on May 5 was the first in this series.

With projections showing Hawaii is expected to be in the top five states with the highest number of hotel job losses for 2021, American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) president and CEO, Chip Rogers and Hawaii Lieutenant Governor Josh Green joined in the event on May 5 to underscore efforts to bring hotel employees back as hotels prepare for summer travel.

In Hawaii, the total projected job loss for the year amounts to an estimated 20,029 jobs. Industry analysts estimate that hotel employment is unlikely to reach pre-pandemic levels until at least 2023, and recovery for the industry is not projected until 2024.

When selecting a hotel, enhanced cleaning and hygiene practices continue to rank as a guests’ number two priority, just behind price. At the onset of the pandemic, the hotel industry launched “Safe Stay,” an initiative focused on enhanced hotel cleaning practices, social interactions, and workplace protocols to meet the new health and safety challenges and expectations presented by COVID-19. These industry-wide guidelines were designed to prepare America’s hotels to safely welcome back guests and employees. 

Further, nearly half of consumers view vaccine distribution as a key to travel. As more Americans are vaccinated, the hotel industry is committed to promoting safe travel while also creating a standardized safety experience nationwide through the Safe Stay initiative.

With vaccinations and testing become more widespread, and infection and hospital rates declining, hotels are seeing an uptick in leisure travel, with 61% of Americans expected to travel for leisure this summer according to a poll conducted by Morning Consult and commissioned by AHLA.

But while leisure travel outlook continues to grow, the hotel industry is still hurting from this pandemic. Business travel is down 85% from pre-pandemic levels and is not expected to fully return until 2024. Unlike leisure travel, which can often be booked or changed at the last minute, meetings and events are scheduled months, if not years, in advance.

“Tourism is an important industry that brings thousands of jobs to Hawaii, supports the livelihood of many residents and provides resources for hospitals, schools and cultural and environmental stewardship,” saidLieutenant Governor Josh Green. “As we continue the COVID-19 vaccination rollout and maintain public health best practices, we are optimistic Hawaii can safely reopen for summer travel with the support of our hospitality industry.”

The event followed the introduction of the Save Hotel Jobs Act, introduced by U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and U.S. Representative Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), which will provide targeted relief to the ailing hotel industry until travel returns to pre-pandemic levels. While many other hard-hit industries have received targeted federal relief, the hotel industry has not. In fact, hotels are the only major hospitality and leisure segment yet to receive direct aid. 

“While leisure travel will start returning this year as more and more people are vaccinated, business and group travel will take significantly longer to recover and is a major source of employment for the hotel industry. We remain optimistic, but the road to recovery for the hotel industry is long and we need support, especially in states like Hawaii. The Save Hotel Jobs Act will help support the hotel industry with targeted relief in order to stem permanent losses and keep hotel workers employed,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “As we begin to welcome back travelers, Safe Stay’s rigorous health and safety protocols, which were designed in accordance with CDC guidelines and reviewed by the CDC, will continue to help create peace of mind.”

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) is the main national association representing all segments of the U.S. lodging industry. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AHLA focuses on strategic advocacy, communications support and workforce development programs to move the industry forward. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitality was the first industry impacted and it will be among the last to recover. That is why AHLA is committed to promoting safe travel while also creating a standardized safety experience nationwide through the Safe Stay initiative. With an enhanced set of health and safety protocols designed to provide a safe and clean environment for all hotel guests and employees, hotels across America are ready to welcome back travelers when they are ready to travel. Learn more at www.ahla.com.

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Hospitality Industry Calls on Congress to Pass Save Hotel Jobs Act

Citing a loss of 3.1 million leisure and hospitality jobs lost during the coronavirus pandemic and with hotels expected to end 2021 down 500,000 jobs, the hotel industry is calling on to Congress to pass the Save Hotel Jobs Act © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Download Fact Sheet on 2021 State Job Loss Here

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) released new data showcasing the ongoing devastating impact of COVID-19 on hotel industry employment, including projected hotel job loss through the end of 2021. Without targeted relief from Congress, nationwide, hotels are expected to end 2021 down 500,000 jobs. Hotels are the only major hospitality and leisure segment yet to receive direct aid.

The top five states projected to end 2021 down the highest number of jobs include:

  1. California: 67,169 jobs lost
  2. Florida: 39,560 jobs lost
  3. New York: 38,028 jobs lost
  4. Nevada: 22,282 jobs lost
  5. Hawaii: 20,029 jobs lost

The release of this data follows the introduction of the Save Hotel Jobs Act, legislation to provide targeted federal relief to the ailing hotel industry workforce including up to three months of full payroll support. AHLA and UNITE HERE, the largest hospitality workers union in North America, joined forces last week to call on Congress to pass the Save Hotel Jobs Act. The bill, introduced by U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and U.S. Representative Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), provides a lifeline to hotel workers, providing the assistance they need to survive until travel returns to pre-pandemic levels.

Unfortunately, the road to recovery for the hotel industry is long, the AHLA stated. The recent uptick in leisure travel for spring and summer is encouraging for hotels, however, business travel—the largest source of hotel revenue—is down 85% and is not expected to begin its slow return until the second half of this year. Full recovery is not expected until 2024. 

“While many other hard-hit industries have received targeted federal relief, the hotel industry has not. The Save Hotel Jobs Act will provide critical support to hotels and their workers during this crucial period,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “We need Congress to pass the Save Hotel Jobs Act to help hotels retain and rehire employees until travel demand, especially business travel, begins to come back.”

No industry has been more affected by the pandemic than hospitality, the AHLA stated. Leisure and hospitality has lost 3.1 million jobs during the pandemic that have yet to return, representing more than a third of all unemployed persons in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even more stark, the unemployment rate in the accommodation sector specifically remains 330% higher than the rest of the economy.

Empty or permanently closed hotels have also had a ripple effect on communities throughout the country, hurting a wide range of businesses that rely on the presence of hotel guests, such as restaurants and retail, hotel supply companies and construction. For every 10 people directly employed on a hotel property, hotels support an additional 26 jobs in the community, from restaurants and retail to hotel supply companies and construction, according to a study by Oxford Economics. With hotels expected to end 2021 down 500,000 jobs, based on the pre-pandemic ratio, an additional 1.3 million hotel-supported jobs are in jeopardy this year without additional support from Congress.

This crisis has been especially devastating in urban areas, hurting minority communities, the AHLA stated. Urban hotels, which are more reliant on business and group travel and more likely to host larger events, ended January down 66% in room revenue compared to last year. According to recent reports, New York City has seen one-third of its hotel rooms—more than 42,000—wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly 200 hotels closing permanently in the city.

Read more about the Save Hotel Jobs Act here.

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) is the main national association representing all segments of the U.S. lodging industry. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AHLA focuses on strategic advocacy, communications support and workforce development programs to move the industry forward. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospitality industry was the first industry impacted, and it will be among the last to recover. That is why AHLA is committed to promoting safe travel while also creating a standardized safety experience nationwide through the Safe Stay initiative. With an enhanced set of health and safety protocols designed to provide a safe and clean environment for all hotel guests and employees, hotels across America are ready to welcome back travelers when they are ready to travel.

Learn more at www.ahla.com.  

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National Travel and Tourism Week 2021 (May 2-8) Celebrates ‘the Power of Travel’

Discovering the delights of the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park. National Travel and Tourism Week 2021 reminds people of the importance of the $2.6 trillion travel industry that supports 17 million jobs and an infinite number of life-long memories and experiences © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) taking place May 2-8 is the annual celebration of the contributions of the U.S. travel industry. This year, it spotlights the critical role that travel will play in driving economic recovery efforts and building the path forward through the theme Power of Travel.

Celebrated annually the first full week in May, NTTW was created by Congress in 1983 to elevate the economic power of travel in the U.S. This year, the 38th annual NTTW arrives at an opportune moment to recognize the importance to the U.S. economy of initiating a post-pandemic travel recovery.

“NTTW takes on a special significance this year as the travel industry looks to rebound quickly from the pandemic and accelerate recovery efforts,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “The past year was incredibly challenging, but we saw the full power of the travel industry on display in the way we united and supported one another through this crisis.”

“Before the pandemic, travel generated $2.6 trillion in economic output, supported 17 million American jobs and delivered a $51 billion trade surplus to the U.S.—evidence of the outsized role the industry will play in America’s broader economic recovery,” said Dow.

However, this vital revenue source stemming from business and leisure travelers was severely diminished amid the pandemic.

In 2020, the entire U.S. travel industry lost half a trillion dollars in travel-related spending—10 times the economic impact of 9/11. Nationally, total travel-supported jobs accounted for a staggering 65% of all U.S. jobs lost amid the pandemic.

With such disparate losses, it is clear that a broader economic recovery hinges on a recovery within the travel industry.

“While the rapid pace of vaccinations has provided hope that a return to normal is on the horizon, a resurgence in travel demand is not inevitable,” the USTA said in a statement. “Without aggressive federal action to reopen the travel economy and spur demand, the travel industry’s recovery is expected to take as long as five years—far too long to wait for the workers whose livelihoods depend on this vital industry.

“But with the right measures in place, we can get people moving again in a safe and healthy way, restore our workforce and help power a broader economic recovery. The travel industry needs sustained relief to ensure businesses can maintain operation and workers can stay on payrolls until sustained demand can truly take hold.

“Importantly, policymakers must also identify the path to reopening our borders and safely restarting international inbound travel, as well as restarting professional meetings and events; these are crucial segments of our local economy, without which we cannot fully recover.

“The road ahead is challenging, but the travel industry is resilient and has an incredible ability to bounce back from hard times. We recovered after 9/11, after the 2008 financial meltdown, and after health scares such as Zika, Ebola and SARS. This is the toughest challenge the U.S. travel industry has ever faced, but we know  travel is one of the best-equipped industries to lead a revival.

“If lawmakers act now to jumpstart recovery efforts and get Americans moving, then all of us can get back to doing what we do best more quickly—providing quality job opportunities for Americans of all background, reconnecting family and friends, and showing the world what makes the U.S. the best place to visit.”

This week, TSA reported the highest number of travelers coming through airports, 1.6 million, while car rentals, hotels, AirBnBs and attractions, especially those around national parks, are booking up, a clear demonstration of pent-up demand being unleashed. Now the question is whether the industry will be able to accommodate it and how long it will be sustained. That will depend largely on the ability of the nation to vaccinate as many people as possible, so that travelers and workers feel safe and venues can increase capacity and operating hours.

National Travel and Tourism Week also reminds travelers of the pleasures and value of travel – of getting together, sharing the delight in exploring and learning and doing new things, meeting new people where they live, embracing other cultures and environments, and sharing memorable, even life-changing experiences.

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Travel Industry Sees Passage of Biden’s American Rescue Plan as Critical

The U.S. Travel Association and American Hotel and Lodging Association joined the growing list of business leaders and economists who see President Biden’s American Rescue Plan as critical to addressing the economic crisis caused by the pandemic (c) Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The U.S. Travel Association and American Hotel and Lodging Association joined the growing list of business leaders and economists who see President Biden’s American Rescue Plan as critical to addressing the economic crisis caused by the pandemic.
 
The travel industry supports 15.8 million or nearly 1 in 10 American jobs. In a report, the U.S. Travel Association noted in a report that COVID-19 has devastated the travel industry more than any other sector of the economy. In order to get Americans back to work and safely resume travel, the U.S. Travel Association President and CEO said that there has to be immediate action to pass the American Rescue Act.
 
Robert Dow, U.S. Travel Association President and CEO praised the American Rescue Plan in a speech yesterday, saying “We are encouraged by the measures to provide additional grants and loans to small businesses in the hardest-hit industries, which include travel. The Paycheck Protection Program is set to expire in March, but the economic hardships of the pandemic will persist, so it is important that struggling businesses continue to receive aid to maintain operations and keep workers on payrolls.”
 
Dow added “there are important components contained in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan to help us rebuild, such as providing grants for the hardest hit industries, including travel. Also included in the President’s proposal is additional funding for vaccine distribution which we know is vital to helping travel businesses more robustly reopen.”
 
And, the market data analyst, STR, recently said that the American Rescue Plan’s proposal for widespread vaccinations would help get the industry back on track “these opening months of the year are going to resemble some of the :slowest of 2020, but we are optimistic that hotel demand will improve as vaccine distribution becomes more widespread and travel confidence grows,” said Amanda Hite, president of STR. “While the early indicators should be visible in Q2, we expect Q3 to be the point where leisure travel shifts into high gear and corporate and group business show more progressive improvement. That will feed into a 2022 that shows a higher level of recovery.”

Meanwhile, the American Hotel & Lodging Association released AHLA’s State of the Hotel Industry 2021” outlining the forecasted state of the hotel industry in 2021 and into the immediate future. The report examines the high-level economics of the hotel industry’s recovery, the specific impact on and eventual return of business travel, and consumer travel sentiments. 

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