Mar 17, 2020 - Economy

Hotel industry could lose 4 million jobs from coronavirus impact

Image of a hotel housekeeper with cart

Housekeeper at the Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel in Charleston, South Carolina. Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The novel coronavirus has already had a more severe economic impact on the hotel industry than the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the Great Recession combined, according to an industry trade group.

Why it matters: Some 45% of all hotel jobs have been eliminated or will be eliminated in the next few weeks, says the American Hotel and Lodging Association. Current forecasts of a 30% drop in hotel occupancy over a full year would result in the loss of nearly 4 million hotel jobs, from general managers to housekeepers.

What's happening: Travel industry officials are meeting with the White House's coronavirus task force Tuesday afternoon to discuss the "catastrophic economic impact on the hotel industry, its employees and U.S. economy."

  • Given the current impact of the virus on travel demand, the hotel industry is losing $1.4 billion in revenue every week.
  • Marriott Hotels began furloughing what it expects will be tens of thousands of employees worldwide because of widespread travel cancellations across the globe, the Wall Street Journal reports.

What to watch: The industry says it will recommend "urgent action and specific solutions" to protect millions of hotel jobs and some 33,000 small business hotel operators and franchise owners representing 61% of the industry.

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