COVID-19: Global hospitality industry checks out amid poor occupancy

New Delhi, March 28 : New Coronavirus pandemic has forced the global hospitality industry to checkout abruptly, as occupancy has gone down up to 100 per cent in some of the most-affected countries, according to a new report.

According to leading hospitality data company STR, occupancy is down as much as 96 per cent in Italy to 68 per cent in China, 67 per cent down in the UK, 59 per cent in the US and 48 per cent in Singapore.

The reports are based on data from 68,000 properties and 9.1 million rooms around the world.

"A figure of 30 per cent absolute occupancy in the US for the week ending March 21 is not a good sign," reports phocuswire.com, quoting STR's senior vice president of lodging insights, Jan Freitag.

"Seven of 10 rooms were empty around the country [United States]. That average is staggering on its own".

"What that further then means is that there are still a lot of people traveling... means there are still a lot of people who are not practicing social distancing," Freitag noted.

In India, with huge losses and unemployment and bankruptcies looming ahead, the Federation of Associations of Indian Tourism iamp; Hospitality (FAITH) has sought urgent intervention of the Centre to tackle the crisis arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

FAITH Chairman Nakul Anand said with declining revenues in almost all tourism businesses, there is a huge dearth of working capital that has hit the industry, according to a letter to the PM by the apex body of all national associations representing the entire travel, tourism and hospitality sector.

With the responsibility of paying staff salaries, servicing EMIs, advance taxes, provident fund, ESIC, GST, Excise and other state levies, bank guarantees and security deposits, the industry needs the support of the government, he said, urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to grant a 12-month moratorium of paying their EMIs on loans and working capital from financial institutions, both banking and non-banking.

According to STR report, based on data from 68,000 properties and 9.1 million rooms around the world, RevPAR (revenue per available room) has gone down considerably.

Last week, the decline accelerated, for example averaging 90 per cent across all major cities in Europe.

"RevPAR decreases are at unprecedented levels -- worse than those seen during 9/11 and the financial crisis," said Freitag.

Marriott International and Hilton have already started furloughing "tens of thousands" of employees -- from general managers to housekeepers -- in the US.

According to Hotel Trades Council that represents hotel and gaming workers in New York and northern New Jersey, more than half of the union's 40,000 members have been laid off in these areas.

All 6,000 members of the union's casino division have been laid off with the casinos across the state remaining closed over the weekend, according to the Council.

(IANS)

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COVID-19: Global hospitality industry checks out amid poor occupancy