COVID-19: Mirae sued over Anbang deal | U.S. loans aren’t enough: AHLA

Anbang unit sues Mirae to complete US$5.8B deal

An Anbang Insurance Group unit has sued to force South Korea’s Mirae Asset Global Investments to complete its US$5.8 billion purchase of a portfolio of U.S. luxury hotels as the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt financial markets and travel. The Anbang unit has alleged that Mirae has buyer’s remorse due to hotel closures caused by the pandemic and that it has been unable to secure favorable terms for financing, said people familiar with the matter.

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U.S. hotels require more loans to save jobs: Report

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) released a new report showing the average U.S.-based small business hotel will require additional funding from federal Small Business Association (SBA) loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in order to rehire employees or prevent further layoffs and keep their business open. AHLA also sent a letter today to Congress asking for additional funding for the SBA loan program and several technical updates to the CARES Act aimed to help hoteliers keep their doors open and save jobs. The report shows that “covered costs” as defined in the CARES Act cover only 47% of hotel operating costs. With revenues at 20% to 40% of normal level for the remainder of 2020, AHLA says the only solution for keeping employees on the payroll is to increase the PPP loan limits.  

Read the report

How Vail is handling refunds, credits during closure

Vail Resorts announced its COVID-19 policies that address how the ski industry giant will handle refunds and credits related to this year’s shortened season. It also tackles how it will provide security to its customers who buy season passes for next season. Vail is providing credits to 2019-20 season pass holders, based on the price of their pass, that can be applied toward the purchase of a 2020-21 season pass of equal or greater value. Looking ahead, Vail is launching what it calls “Epic Coverage” to protect future pass purchases. It’s basically a free insurance plan that covers both resort closures (due to something like COVID-19) as well as injury, job loss and many other normal circumstances that are covered by pass insurance. Guests who buy a pass for next year will automatically get this pass insurance.  

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Iberostar Group creates medical advisory board

Spain-based Iberostar Group has created a medical advisory board, which includes experts in public health and safety within the tourism sector. Among the experts is Sebastián Crespí Rotger, founder and president of the consulting firm Biolinea Internacional, who will be accompanied by other specialists. The experts are cooperating with the company’s sustainability office and together with its main executives and operational managers. The board will advise the company by auditing health and safety protocols and designing specific measures to guarantee safety of customers and employees.

Optimism grows among destination organizations: Survey

A survey that assesses how North American destination organizations are impacted by, as well as reacting to, the COVID-19 pandemic, revealed that over the past two weeks respondents’ outlook on their local tourism economies has started to improve. The survey, from MMGY Travel Intelligence, in partnership with Destinations International Foundation, found that the percentage of destination professionals who expect their local economy to worsen fell sharply from 72% in Wave III of the survey to 41% in Wave IV, indicating expectations are starting to stabilize. A small but growing percentage of respondents (14%) even expect their local tourism economy to show improvement in the next 30 days. This is up from just 2% of respondents in Wave III.

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Pandemic’s impact varies greatly by market and chain scale

According to a new report from Kalibri Labs, March is the first full month to reflect the COVID-19 impacts. A -17% guest paid ADR for March doesn’t reflect an average hotel’s price deflation as much as it much as it represents a smaller portion of upper tier hotels operating compared to March 2019, meaning the price decline is a function of hotel mix. The pandemic’s impact on the industry ultimately varies greatly by market and chain scale.

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‘Wellness in the Age of COVID-19’

The Global Wellness Institute has released a new “Wellness in the Age of COVID-19” Q&A with theologian and author Martin Palmer. The Q&A discusses, among other things, that while much of the focus of wellness in the media has been on fitness and wellness classes moving online, the role of faith and spirituality in the wellness world has largely gone unexplored.

Read the Q&A

Elsewhere: Crown’s first U.S. property

Australian developer Crown Group has taken the next steps in its first move into the U.S. market, where it plans to develop a mixed-use high-rise condominium and hotel tower in Los Angeles’ Downtown district. Crown has formed a joint venture with the Singapore-based Magnus Property Pte, as well as ASRI, one of Indonesia’s biggest property developers. The 43-story tower will be designed by Koichi Takada Architects and is expected to be completed in 2024.  

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