Photo Courtesy of Google
The Crowne Plaza JFK on 135th Avenue near the Van Wyck Expressway.
By Forum Staff
With the April jobs report showing that the hospitality and leisure industry was the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic—losing a staggering 7.7 million jobs—the trade group American Hotel & Lodging Association recently released a “Roadmap to Recovery,” and wrote a letter to leaders of both chambers of Congress, urging them to prioritize relief for hotel workers and small businesses in the next stimulus package.
The outbreak continues to devastate the industry: According to AHLA, 2020 is projected to be the worst year on record for hotel occupancy, and experts estimate it will be at least 2022 before hotels return to their 2019 occupancy and revenue levels. So far, the impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry has been nine times worse than the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In a recent survey of AHLA members, more than 8 in 10 hotel employees said they have had to lay-off or furlough workers. Only 37 percent have been able to rehire any staff through economic relief measures such as the Paycheck Protection Program.
AHLA is urging federal elected officials to provide immediate assistance in these four areas:
- Help hotels retain and rehire employees by extending the PPP, offering employees direct tuition assistance or tax credits, and expanding the Employee Retention Credit
- Protect employees and guests through tax credits for cleaning equipment and personal protective equipment
- Keep hotel doors open by providing relief for hotel commercial mortgages and increasing the size and flexibility of PPP loans
- Incentivize Americans to travel again when it’s safe with a new, temporary travel tax credit and restoring the entertainment business expense deduction
“The hospitality industry is in a fight for survival,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “We are grateful to the leadership of both parties during one of the most difficult health and economic challenges we have faced. We are urging Congress to do even more to help the hotel industry so that our small business hotel operators can keep the lights on and retain and rehire employees.”
With a presence in every congressional district in America, hotels are central to getting our economy back on track and supporting millions of jobs, according to AHLA. Prior to the pandemic, hotels were supported one in 25 American jobs—8.3 million in total—and contributed $660 billion to U.S. Gross Domestic Product. A representative hotel with 100 occupied rooms per night supports nearly 250 jobs in the community and generates $18.4 million in guest spending at neighborhood shops and restaurants. Hotels also generate $186 billion in local, state, and federal taxes each year, the organization added.
“We need Congress to continue to prioritize the industries and employees most affected by the crisis, so we can retain and rehire the people who power our industry, our communities and our economy,” Rogers said.