The U.S. hotel industry has renewed calls for Congress to pass another coronavirus relief package after a new survey revealed that seven out of 10 Americans are unlikely to travel for Christmas amid fears of the continuing pandemic.
The figures show a meagre 32 per cent of Americans have taken an overnight vacation or leisure trip since March according to a survey of 2,200 adults.
The statistics from The American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) come as the US was hit by a new devastating record for hospitalisations with 110,549 people being treated for coronavirus on Monday.
The rising number of cases, with 193,384 new cases and 1,358 deaths recorded on Monday according to The COVID Tracking Project, has led the Centers for Disease and Prevention Control (CDC) to urge people to stay home for Christmas.
The US’ COVID-19 death toll surpassed the grim 300,000 milestone on Monday, mere hours after the first virus vaccines were administered.
The devastating figures appear to have severely impacted the hotel industry as millions have decided to stay at home during the pandemic.
Industry leaders are calling for another coronavirus relief package but Democrats and Republicans have been in a deadlock since the Spring, when the last package was passed.
The AHLA said nationwide hotel occupancy was at 37 per cent in the week ending on December 5.
Of the three out of 10 who intend to travel for Christmas this year, 74 per cent said they will be staying with family or friends.
The survey also found that business travel has been even more impacted with 92 per cent of Americans saying they have not taken an overnight business trip since March.
Just 19 per cent of working Americans are expecting to travel for business within the next six months whilst 62 per cent have no plans to stay in a hotel for business.
In a further blow to the hotel industry, 44 per cent of Americans said their next hotel stay for a vacation will not be for another year or more from now.
The survey also revealed 65% of Americans said it’s unlikely that they’ll travel for Spring Break in 2021.
The stark statistics have taken a toll on the industry, as more than half of hotels report they have less than half of their typical, pre-crisis staff working full time currently, according to the AHLA.
Without further governmental assistance, 74 per cent of hotels said they would be forced into further layoffs.
‘This holiday season will be an especially difficult time for all Americans, and our industry is no exception’, said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. ‘Fewer people will be traveling, and business travel remains nearly non-existent.’
‘That’s why it’s so important for Congress to pass a relief bill now. Millions of Americans are out of work, and thousands of small businesses are struggling to keep their doors open.
‘We cannot afford to wait until the next Congress is sworn in for relief. They need help now.’
He continued: ‘For those who are considering traveling for the holidays, hotels will be ready to welcome you.
‘Through our Safe Stay initiative, hotels have enhanced our already rigorous cleaning protocols to be more transparent and give travelers even more peace of mind.’
As a result of the sharp drop in travel demand from COVID-19, state and local tax revenue from hotel operations is estimated to drop by $16.8 billion in 2020, according to the AHLA.
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