Tourism sector could lose US$320B
The pandemic has cost the global tourism sector US$320 billion in just the first five months of the year, according to the UN’s world tourism body. Hopes that tourists would help revamp the French economy are also fading – it may be high season, but most of the capital’s tourist sites are deserted. The amount of revenue lost between January and May this year is “more than three times the loss during the Global Financial Crisis of 2009,” the Madrid-based World Tourism Organization said in a statement.
The second quarter was perhaps the toughest on record for Canadian hotel owners and operators, according to a new report from Colliers International. However, emerging indicators and continued re-openings across the country mark a shift from survival to recovery mode. Highlights include:
- The weekly national occupancy low was registered at 12% the week of April 11 and is now 28.9% the last week ending July 4
- Year over year decline in ADR for year-to-date June was 14.5%
- Year over year decline in RevPAR for year-to-date June was 54.2%
The Hotel Association of India has said without support from the government and the RBI, the Indian hotel industry will collapse. The industry body has reiterated its demands including extension of the moratorium on interest and repayment of principal for the entire financial year 2021 till March 31, and the interest due is added back to the total principal outstanding and the loan term extended by 12 months.
U.S. Congress has introduced legislation to provide economic support for organizations involved in promoting and hosting tourism, travel, or other special events. The Sustaining Tourism Enterprises During the COVID–19 Pandemic (STEP) Act would modify existing grant programs to provide direct support to the hard-hit tourism and travel industry to promote economic recovery and help increase public confidence as these industries look to reopen safely in the future. The legislation also has support from the U.S. Travel Association.
Pandemic crushing Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s beleaguered hotel owners are pressing the government to waive rates for the next three quarters up to March, pointing out that they are running at a loss because of the coronavirus outbreak that has seen tourist numbers to the city plummet nearly 100%. The Federation of Hong Kong Hotel Owners, which represents over 200 hotels, wants the Rating and Valuation Department to waive the rates. This amounts to around 5% of net profit in good times, according to market insiders.
Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, has adjusted its phased reopening schedule for its hotels, changing the dates to later for some of its resorts. The alterations add two months to the closures of some locations, which have been shuttered in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and the Art of Animation Resort had been scheduled to open Aug. 12. Now the Polynesian will be back in service October 4, and Art of Animation is set to return November 1, according to Disney World’s official website.
The full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Hawaiian hotel industry was felt during Q2 2020, as national RevPAR declined by 79.9% for the month of April, 74.2% for May, and 60.6% for June, according to a new report from CBRE. For the first six months of 2020, national RevPAR was down 45.5%compared to the first half of 2019.
Emirates has become the first airline to offer free COVID-19 insurance as it tries to get people flying again. Passengers will be covered for medical treatment, hotel quarantine, and even their funeral if they catch the coronavirus while travelling. The announcement comes as carriers around the world have been hit hard by measures to tackle the pandemic. Earlier this month, Emirates told the BBC it is set to cut as many as 9,000 jobs.
As U.S. Congress debates a new round of COVID-19 recovery legislation, a new survey of American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) members shows that the pandemic continues to have a devastating effect on the hotel industry and its employees. Results show nearly nine in ten hotels have been forced to lay off or furlough employees due to COVID-19 and the resulting drop in travel. Four months into the crisis, only 37% of survey respondents report that they have been able to bring back at least half their full-time employees.
Scotland’s hotels to receive US$18M
A £14 million (US$18 million) hotel recovery program to help support the tourism industry until the start of next summer has been announced by the Scottish government. The funding package is aimed at securing up to 3,000 jobs at Scotland’s larger hotels through the winter. Eligible businesses can apply for individual grants of up to £250,000(US$322,465).
Phuket-based PHIST (Phuket Hotels for Islands Sustaining Tourism) will offer a virtual vision of its sustainable travel and hospitality event. Over 1,200 are expected to attend this socially distant online gathering, which will include keynote addresses, interactive sessions, educational workshops and a green exhibition. The original edition of PHIST 2020 was scheduled to take place in Phuket on September 7. This year’s keynote speaker is Bill Bensley, creative director at Bensley.