COVID-19: Hoteliers sue SF | Bahamas closed to US

Hotels sue SF over cleaning ordinance

The Hotel Council of San Francisco, the California Hotel and Lodging Association and the American Hotel & Lodging Association filed a lawsuit Monday to overturn the County of San Francisco’s “Healthy Buildings” ordinance, saying that ordinance endangers hotel employees and guests and causes significant economic hardships by forcing many hotels to remain closed and permanently lay off thousands of workers. The lawsuit asks the Superior Court/County of San Francisco to declare the ordinance unlawful and unenforceable.

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Americans not deterred

The current surge in cases of the virus across the U.S. has not made Americans more fearful of becoming ill, and it has not impacted the number of respondents who plan to take a leisure trip within the next six months, which has held steady at 40% since early June, according to a new MMGY survey.

Read survey results

U.S. tourists barred from Bahamas due to COVID-19 resurgence

American tourists will be barred from entering the Bahamas amid the re-surging COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said in a national address. The rollback comes three weeks after the Bahamas reopened its borders to travelers. The situation in the country has deteriorated “at an exponential rate since we reopened our international borders” on July 1, Minnis said. The country’s Ministry of Health reported 49 new cases since borders fully opened, for a total of 153 cases. In the address, Minnis announced that the country’s national airline Bahamasair will cease flights to the United States, effective immediately.

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Fiji targets New Zealand

Fiji is going hard-out in its bid to attract more tourists post-COVID-19, and make it more competitive against destinations like Bali and Phuket. In a range of incentives announced in Fiji’s 2020-2021 budget at the weekend, the Pacific island nation will soon drop its quarantine requirements for tourists from New Zealand, Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says.

Hotel accommodation and food and beverage prices have been reduced, and the first 150,000 visitors to its shores will get US$400 each towards packages including flights, accommodation and food and beverage.

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U.S. outlook from CBRE

CBRE forecasts a strong recovery for U.S. hotels in 2021 and 2022, with RevPAR climbing back to pre-crisis levels by 2023. But, in the interim, the pain has been acute this year – worse for hotels than the events of 9/11 and the U.S. Great Recession combined. The firm anticipates a 52% decline in RevPAR this year and average occupancy of just 41%, down from 66% in 2019. CBRE’s 2021 forecast calls for a 1.1% decline in room supply – amounting to roughly 60,000 rooms – due to hotels closing permanently or being converted to other uses. CBRE predicts the industry likely has gotten past its lowest point, as illustrated by U.S. occupancy rising from its low point of 22% on April 17 to 46% by July 15.

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Impact on Thai drive-in destinations

A new survey from HVS discusses the pandemic and its unprecedented impact on the drive-in hotel markets Thailand. Key takeaways include: 

•   On June 1, Thailand’s government eased the restrictions including the lifting of curfews, reopening of more businesses and activities, and allowing for cross provinces travel

•   Around 80% of the hotels that are currently in operation have re-opened their hotels to accommodate domestic demand

•   Once re-opened, hoteliers should communicate with prospective guests in case of any closure of facilities prior to confirming the reservation

•   Most hoteliers agree that staff training, social distancing, wearing masks, and temperature checking are among the most important measures to implement

Read the full survey

Half of Britons don’t trust hotel room hygiene

A recent survey asked British citizens what their cleaning habits when visiting a hotel, the dirtiest items found, and what they would do before settling in. The 10 items they find the dirtiest in hotel rooms are: Bed linens (92%); glasses and mugs (88%); remote controls (87%); light switches (84%); telephones (71%); upholstered chairs/sofas (63%); decorative cushions/blankets (55%); windows and windowsills (45%); curtains (22%); and carpets (19%). The survey, conducted by a cleaning company, also found that 42% report cleaning a hotel room before using it.

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Jamaican-based hotelier passes: Hotelier Heinz Simonitsch, known for his development of Half Moon resort in Jamaica’s Montego Bay, as well as founding the country’s first SOS Children’s Village, died suddenly yesterday, six days after his 93rd birthday. Simonitsch, who was born in Austria, had made Jamaica his home in 1963 and was responsible for expanding Half Moon from a small property to the expansive 400-acre luxury resort it is today. He is credited with pioneering the pairing of luxury resorts with ecological sustainability and community benefit approaches.

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Iconic Luxury Hotels adds three: London-based Iconic Luxury Hotels has added Hotel Excelsior Venice Lido Resort, Italy, as the company’s first international property. In addition, it will be joined by a new integrated resort development in Mykonos, Greece, followed by Palm House Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida, both joining in 2021.

Port Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv-based developer Hagag Group has started work on a new project, Port Tel Aviv, which has 40 luxury apartments along with a 5-star hotel. The 10-story property will be situated in Namal Tel Aviv Port and is expected to open in Q4 2022.

Wol Group acquires two luxury chalets: Lyon, France-based Solexia Hôtellerie, via its new luxury hospitality and hotel services arm Wol, has acquired two high-end chalets in Val d’Isère, France: the Black Pearl and the White Pearl. Wol purchased the two chalets in June and each chalet has five bedrooms, each with its own private bathroom, a lounge, an indoor swimming pool, a home cinema, and a large ski room.