Daily US Times: Marriott group reopened all of its hotels in China as travel in the country rebounds and the group says has seen a recovery in business travel.
Marriott, which is the world’s third largest hotel chain,. has 350 outlets across China and says that occupancy rate is now at 40%.
On Monday, Marriott gave an upbeat statement about its business in the country as it emerges from coronavirus lockdowns.
It said last week that the economic impact from the coronavirus pandemic has been for the hotel chain than 9/11 and the 2008 financial crisis combined.
In late January when China was at its peak of cases, the occupancy rates at its Chinese hotels had been as low as 7%, Marriott chief executive Arne Sorenson said.
“It’s not just leisure travel growing, but it is business travel. Chinese are flying again,” Mr Sorenson told a travel conference.
He warned, however that occupancy might not recover to pre-coronavirus levels for several years.
The hotel chain said demand for rooms in the US is also recovering but is currently only about half the level of its China properties at 20%.
Marriott, which owns about 30 brands including St Regis, Ritz-Carlton and Sheraton, has extended furloughs for employees and reduced working weeks until early October.
The group said in a statement: “Given the company’s expectation that prior levels of business will not return until beyond 2021, the company anticipates a significant number of above-property position eliminations later this year.”
Two weeks ago rival Hilton reopened all of its 255 hotels in China and introduced a CleanStay initiative to protect employees and guests.
The travel and hotel industry in China were among the first to be hit from the coronavirus outbreak, and look to be the slowest to recover as businesses and factories reopen across the country.
Shanghai Disneyland reopened its gates last month although it introduced strict social distancing rules and limited daily visitors to about 24,000, compared to its pre-pandemic level of 80,000.
Travel and hotel businesses are suffering not only in China, but the whole world due to the pandemic. The world is appeared to reemerge from months long lockdown after they took the rise of cases under control. Europe’s worst-hit countries like of Spain and France already took big steps to normalize the situation.
The US also reopening businesses despite the situation in there is not under control yet. President Trump was pushing the Governors for reopening. Experts in the country warned that reopening in the early stage could lead another wave of infection.