Up to 4m hotel workers in the US could lose their jobs as accommodation sector reels

Nearly half of the hotel workers in the US could lose their jobs in the coming weeks as the coronavirus impacts travel across the world.

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) has warned that nearly four million US hotel jobs could be wiped out in the short term as hotels across the country grapples with unprecedented cancellations and closures.

“In certain affected markets, including Seattle, San Francisco, Austin and Boston, hotel occupancy rates are already down below 20 per cent,” the AHLA said in a statement.

A study by Oxford Economics produced in partnership with the AHLA has forecast a 30 per cent decline in hotel occupancy rates.

“The impact to our industry is already more severe than anything we’ve seen before, including September 11th and the great recession of 2008 combined,” AHLA president and CEO Chip Rogers said.

The dire situation saw CEOs of leading hotels and tourism organisations meet at the White House to ask the government for a US$150 billion bailout.

Roger Dow, the president and CEO of the US Travel Association, said the situation has “quickly become a catastrophic economic crisis”.

“The losses for the travel industry alone are projected to double the unemployment rate over the next two months and plunge the country into recession,” he said.

“Small businesses, which make up 83 per cent of travel businesses, need relief right now if they’re going to be able to keep paying their employees.”