COVID-19 roundup: GBTA cites ‘alarming’ cancelations

Business travel cutbacks “alarming”: A poll by the Global Business Travel Association found, not surprisingly, that Asia has been hit the hardest by cancelations attributed to COVID-19. In the March 4-6 poll, which drew responses from more than 1,000 member companies, three of every four companies had canceled or suspended all or most business trips to China (95%), Hong Kong (87%), Taiwan (79%) and other Asia-Pacific countries (77%). Half of GBTA members said their company had canceled or suspended all or most travel to Europe, and 18% had done so for travel to North America. About four in 10 said their companies had canceled or suspended all international travel, regardless of region. “Business travel is slowing at an alarming rate. The impact to the business travel industry — and to the broader economy — cannot be underestimated,” said Scott Solombrino, COO and executive director of GBTA.

Occupancy plummets in Italy: Key hotel markets in Italy have experienced major declines in occupancy while the country grapples with an inordinate number of coronavirus cases. STR’s international managing director said the declines were exacerbated by extreme government measures to combat spread of the virus. Hotels in Milan, where occupancy peaked at 93% on February 19 during Fashion Week, fell to 8.5% by March 1. On that date, only 6% of rooms in Venice were occupied; Florence had 14% and Rome 21%. ADRs have somehow held steady.

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Emaar suspends new bookings at 3 Dubai hotels: Three of Emaar Hospitality’s Dubai properties will stop accepting new reservations for the next five months based on demand, according to the Khaleej Times. The UAE and other Gulf nations have restricted entry by visitors from countries worst hit by coronavirus. The UAE on Tuesday announced 15 new cases of Covid-19, bringing the total to 74, while 17 Covid-19 patients have recovered in the UAE. “Following the recent global impact on the travel industry drawing us to a state of force majeure, Emaar Hospitality Group has taken the decision to temporarily refocus its operations on a selected number of assets,” it said in a statement.

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  • The death toll from the weekend collapse of a hotel in eastern China used as a coronavirus quarantine facility had risen to 20, with 10 others thought to remain trapped in the rubble, according to The Star. Some 41 survivors pulled from the wreckage were injured, the Ministry of Emergency Management said at a press conference Tuesday.
  • Room Mate Hotels will temporarily shutter three of its six Madrid hotels, with guests relocated to the properties that remain open. The company also said it would rearrange shifts and encourage work at home for its Madrid-based employees. Both measures are expected to last two weeks, coinciding with the closure of schools and universities in the city.
  • Guests at the H10 Costa Adeje Palace Hotel in Tenerife, Spain, were finally allowed to leave the property following a two-week quarantine. A couple visiting from Italy had tested positive for coronavirus.