WASHINGTON, D.C. — Midway through 2021, a new report and state-by-state job loss breakdown released by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) find that while leisure travel is starting to return, the hotel industry’s road to recovery from the pandemic is long and uneven, with urban markets disproportionately impacted.
Industry projections have improved since January with the uptick in leisure travel, but the industry remains well below pre-pandemic levels. Key findings include:
- More than one in five direct hotel operations jobs lost during the pandemic—nearly 500,000 in total—will not have returned by the end of the year
- Hotel occupancy is projected to drop ten percentage points from 2019 levels
- Hotel room revenue will be down $44 billion this year compared to 2019
- States and localities will have lost more than $20 billion in unrealized tax revenues from hotels over the past two years
COVID-19 is the single worst economic event in the history of the American hotel industry, the trade organization said. While the recent uptick in leisure travel for summer is encouraging, business and group travel, the industry’s largest source of revenue, will take significantly longer to recover. Business travel is down and not expected to return to 2019 levels until at least 2023 or 2024. Major events, conventions, and business meetings have also already been canceled or postponed until at least 2022.
Despite being among the hardest hit by the pandemic, hotels are the only segment of the hospitality and leisure industry yet to receive direct COVID-related aid.
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