COVID: CDC extends cruise ban | US transactions down 74%

CDC extends ‘no sail’ order

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control extended the current “no sail” order on U.S. cruise lines, saying it had spent a total of 38,000 hours managing COVID-19 outbreaks on ships. Cruise ships violated basic pandemic safety protocols to stop the spread of the pandemic, the CDC said in its order, which suspended cruise operations until September 30.

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U.S. hotel transactions down 74%

U.S. hotel transactions were down 74% year over year from March to May 2020, according to STR’s Consulting & Analytics office and CoStar Group. Transaction volume through February was up 14% year over year even with the total number of transactions down slightly from 514 to 457. For March through May, volume was down 74% YOY, due mostly to the decline in the number of hotel transactions (-48% YTD). April showed the largest decline (-86%), with only 43 hotels sold. However, May represented the greatest decline in total transaction volume (-94%) with only 68 assets sold for a total volume of US$112 million. May 2019 produced 329 hotels sold for a total of $1.8 billion.

“Looking ahead, we expect transaction activity to eventually pick up, while pricing will continue to decline later in the year, as investors look to acquire distressed assets at a discount,” said Hannah Smith, a senior consultant at STR. “While activity in the sector will likely remain slow into the third quarter, we expect robust transaction activity late in the year, as the industry begins to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Travel industry outlines relief needs

Amid a new round of coronavirus-related economic closures and fresh data that Americans are as wary as ever of traveling, the U.S. travel industry on Friday submitted to Congress and the administration its policy requests for the next coronavirus relief package. That includes: Extend the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) until the end of the year; expand eligibility to destination marketing organizations (DMOs) — both nonprofit and quasi-governmental entities that conduct economic development; and provide up to US$10 billion in federal grants to promote safe and healthy travel practices.

Read the request letter

U.K. luxury hotels see occupancy rise

Each week, STR analysts provide a deep dive into U.K. hotel performance. Here are some highlights from the week of 6-12 July:

• Occupancy showed a slight shift as hotels in the U.K. and Northern Ireland began to reopen.

• Daily RevPAR declines remained between 78% to 82%.

• Luxury hotels saw occupancy previously at around 5%, but this week the metric was closer to 20%.

• Plymouth saw the highest occupancy level for the week (51%), while Edinburgh saw the lowest (17%).

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