Hospitality industry suffers blow from new wave of COVID

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NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WKRN) – As we approach nearly 18 months of the coronavirus pandemic, the hospitality industry has taken another blow.

A new analysis by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) has found that most business travelers cancel, reduce or postpone their trips amid this latest wave of COVID-19. Many decide to cancel existing trips without rescheduling.

Now, AHLA has said the industry, as a whole, is expected to end 2021 down more than $ 59 billion in business travel revenue from 2019.

“What we’re going to see over the next five to six months are a lot of hotels closing. Some will be temporary for late fall and winter. Some will be permanent, and that’s unfortunate, ”said Chip Rogers, President and CEO of AHLA.

To put it simply, a decade of hotel income and job growth is gone.

Fortunately, here locally, the hotels are not so badly off.

“Nashville has done well because there are a lot of people who like to go to Nashville, myself included, for pleasure, but when you look at business trips and meetings and conventions that normally fill this convention center, they’re just not happening, ”Rogers said.

The Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp (NCVC) is aware of 239 canceled events and nearly 630,000 canceled nights related to COVID in 2021.

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Rogers noted that in 2019, there was approximately $ 1 billion in business travel to the Greater Nashville area. By 2021, that has been reduced to a quarter of a billion, a drop of 75%.

When we look at the whole of Tennessee, the loss of revenue over the past two years due to lack of business travel amounts to $ 1.2 billion.

Remember that there are hundreds of jobs associated with this loss of income.

Hotels are expected to end 2021 down nearly 500,000 jobs from 2019. For every 10 people directly employed in a hotel property, hotels support 26 additional jobs in the community, from restaurants and retail to hospitality companies. hotel supplies, nearly 1.3 million more. jobs financed by hotels are also threatened.

And by the end of the year in Tennessee, AHLA expects there to be a job loss of 5,600 direct hotel jobs across the state.

Fortunately, the NCVC believes many of the canceled nights were made up for either leisure travel or postponed to a later date, and the downtown convention schedule remains full for this fall with just one major convention cancellation, which was a medical association.

“Business travel is essential to the viability of our industry, particularly during the fall and winter months when leisure travel normally begins to decline. Persistent concerns about COVID-19 among travelers will only exacerbate these challenges. This is why it is time for Congress to pass the bipartisan Save Hotel Jobs Act to help hotel workers and small business owners survive this crisis, ”said Rogers.

He added that hotels are the only segment of the hospitality and leisure industry still receiving direct help and they are asking for help.

“Although they have received a little help, it is clearly not enough to support a family, and it is not what people want. They want to work, and right now you know that with this pandemic, it’s very unstable in our industry and others related to hospitality and tourism. That is why we are asking the federal government for help to go directly to the employees. What we are asking does not go to the hotel, but to the employees, and we believe that is appropriate.

He continued, “If you’re afraid of the pandemic and of course the virus, that’s understandable, but that fear shouldn’t be attached to a hotel. Staying in a hotel is safe.

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