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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