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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.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

U.S. strikes Iran-backed militia structures in Syria

President Biden at the Pentagon on Feb. 10. Photo: Alex Brandon - Pool/Getty Images

The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to an Iran-backed militia group, the Pentagon announced.

The state of play: The strike, approved by President Biden, comes "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.

Senate parliamentarian rules $15 minimum wage cannot be included in relief package

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Thursday that the provision to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour cannot be included in the broader $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

Why it matters: It's now very likely that any increase in the minimum wage will need bipartisan support, as the provision cannot be passed with the simple Senate majority that Democrats are aiming to use for President Biden's rescue bill.

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Biden's big Saudi reset

Mohammed bin Salman. Photo: Ryad Kramdi/AFP via Getty

President Biden spoke with Saudi Arabia's King Salman this evening ahead of the release of a CIA report expected to implicate the king's son, and the kingdom's de facto ruler, in the murder of a U.S.-based journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.

Why it matters: In one month, Biden has ended support for the Saudi war effort in Yemen, frozen a large arms deal and snubbed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) by declining to speak with him directly.