Florida hotels have lost more than $5B during pandemic, study says

Florida

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A new analysis from the American Hotel and Lodging Association shows that the ongoing harm of the pandemic to the hospitality industry has wiped billions of dollars from Florida’s economy.

Across the country, nearly $60 billion in revenue has been lost since 2019.

According to data published by AHLA and produced by Kalibri Labs, in 2019, the hospitality industry had more than $89.5B in total revenue.

In 2021, the same projection showed $30.3B revenue instead, a 66.2% drop.

Zooming in on Florida, the state’s 2019 portion of the industry revenue was $8,804,251,492. The projected revenue in 2021 is $3,459,924,043, showing a projected drop of 60.7%. That projected revenue loss equals out to $5,344,327,450 less than the 2019 total.

Some Florida cities shown in the survey data have faced heavier losses than others.

Orlando, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Tampa all made the Kalibri Labs survey list. Here’s how the cities’ hospitality industry has done during the pandemic.

LocationTotal 2019
Revenue
Total 2021
Projected
Revenue
$ Difference
vs 2019
% Difference
vs 2019
Orlando$2,796,237,340$518,314,991$2,277,922,349-81.5%
Miami$1,327,065,297$496,933,768$830,131,529-62.6%
Fort Lauderdale$703,671,007$231,998,864$471,672,143-67.0%
West Palm Beach$416,539,077$145,037,484$271,501,593-65.2%
Tampa$428,707,357$164,639,617$264,067,740-61.6%
State of Florida$8,804,251,492$3,459,924,043$5,344,327,450-60.7%
United States$89,549,029,613$30,272,129,226$59,276,900,387-66.2%
(Source: Kalibri Labs, American Hotel and Lodging Association)

The release that the AHLA published containing the survey data said the $59 billion in business travel revenue drops mostly came from the first year of the pandemic in 2020.

“The hotel industry is projected to end 2021 down more than $59 billion in business travel revenue compared to 2019, according to a new report released today by the American Hotel & Lodging Association and Kalibri Labs. That comes after losing nearly $49 billion in business travel revenue in 2020,” the release said.

As businesses face cancellations as COVID-19 cases are on the rise, hospitality industry workers in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan statistical area had 150,900 employees, according to preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The BLS also reports that at the same time in 2019, the industry in the Tampa area had 162,000 employees. In 2020, it was 126,900. The bureau reports that the number of employees in the hospitality industry had declined from 2,751,000 to 1,201,000 from August 2020 to August 2021.

Nationally, the unemployment rate overall has declined, as reported in its August data. Still, employment in the hospitality industry is down by 10% since February 2020, or 1.7 million jobs.

“While some industries have started rebounding from the pandemic, this report is a sobering reminder that hotels and hotel employees are still struggling,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA.

Rogers said that business travel is “critical to our industry’s viability,” particularly in months when leisure travel slows down, like fall and winter. He said that a piece of legislation winding its way through Congress would help hotel employees and small business owners make it through the crisis caused by COVID-19.

The legislation Rogers refers to is the Save Hotel Jobs Act, a bipartisan bill. It’s been in the Committee on Ways and Means since May 11, 2021.

No new legislative actions on the bill have happened since then, the day it was introduced in the House by one of Florida’s U.S. Representatives, Charlie Crist, D-FL13 from St. Petersburg.

Crist is also currently running as a Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Florida. His congressional seat will be up for grabs by multiple Democrats and Republicans in the 2022 midterm elections.

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