Tag: break

Hawaii’s hotel industry is still struggling despite tourism reopening, and isn’t expected to break even in 2021

More than a year from now, Hawaii’s hotel industry won’t have stopped bleeding.

A new annual Hawaii hotel forecast prepared by STR for the Hawaii Tourism Authority estimates that by the end of 2021, statewide occupancy will have hit only 46.3%, still short of the 50% to 60% occupancy that the industry needs to break even.

Many of Hawaii’s hotels temporarily closed during the pandemic as government restrictions and fear of COVID-19 significantly reduced travel demand. Quite a number were open by Oct. 15, the start of the state’s pre-
arrival testing program under Safe Travels
Hawaii. But so far, Hawaii’s formal welcome-
back to travelers hasn’t filled hotel rooms to the degree that many had hoped.

About 75% of Hawaii hotels are operating again. Still, only about 1,000 out of 8,000 Unite Here Local 5 hotel members are back to work. Some 5,000 of them already have lost their health insurance, and most are facing the loss of other support programs just after Christmas.

Local 5 spokesman Bryant de Venecia said, “Most of our workers have lost health insurance. They really want to go back to work, but that’s really out of our control. We can’t control how many tourists will
occupy our hotels.”

“If we are going to recap 2020, we barely left square one. Our members are still struggling, still dealing with how to pay for rent and food and health care,” de Venecia said. “It’s just heartbreaking, especially right before Christmas. People need help now.”

Mufi Hannemann, president and CEO of the Hawaii Lodging &Tourism Association, said Hawaii hoteliers are languishing, too.

Hannemann cited a recent survey of American Hotel &Lodging Association members that estimated 7 in
10 hoteliers (71%) wouldn’t make it another six months without further federal assistance given current and projected travel demand, and 77% of hotels report they will be forced to lay off more workers.

“I don’t know if Hawaii is quite at 71%. We’ve got a number of foreign hotel owners who might be able to survive beyond that period. Still, I would reckon a good number of our properties are in dire straits,” Hannemann said.

Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA, said in
a statement that Congress must move quickly to pass additional relief for U.S.
hotels.

“Every hour Congress doesn’t act, hotels lose
400 jobs. As devastated industries like ours desperately wait for Congress to come together to pass another round of COVID-19
relief legislation, hotels continue to face record devastation,” Rogers said. “Without action from Congress, half of U.S. hotels could close with massive layoffs in the next six months.”

Rogers said U.S. hotels
already are expecting to face a difficult winter, characterized by a significant drop in travel demand — some 7 out of 10 Americans are not expected to travel over the holidays.

According to STR, U.S. weekly hotel occupancy has slipped further from previous weeks.

“After ranging between 48% and 50% occupancy from mid-July into the later portion of October, the last three

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Lee board to vote on next year’s calendar, 7-week summer break planned

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Kindergarten students and their family members were able to attend Caloosa Elementary in Cape Coral, Thursday, August 27, 2020, to a meet-the-teacher open house. The event was meant to help get the youngest learners ready for their first day of school.

Fort Myers News-Press

Is it too soon to start talking about summer vacation? Didn’t think so.

Students in Lee County are looking at about seven weeks of summer vacation if the school board signs off on the proposed 2021-22 school year calendar during its meeting Tuesday.

This year, school ends on June 17, with the first day of school in 2022 proposed for Aug. 10. Teachers would report a week earlier, giving them a six-week summer break.

The calendar is created by a committee of parents, community members, teachers, support staff and principals who figure out how holidays, breaks and state-mandated instructional hours fit into Lee County’s 180-day public school year.

More: Lee school board approves Aug. 31 as new start date

Lee County schools (Photo: news-press.com)

There are three mini-vacations proposed in the school calendar: Thanksgiving, winter and spring break.

  • Thanksgiving break will be Nov. 22-26. School will resume Nov. 29.
     
  • Winter break will be Dec. 20-Dec. 31. School will resume Jan. 3, 2022, but the calendar says the first week back in school will be used as an exam week for the end of the first semester of school.
     
  • Spring break is set for March 21-25, 2022, with school resuming March 28.

A four-day weekend for Easter is also planned, with schools closed April 15-18, 2022.

Four holidays will be wrapped into three-day weekends: Labor Day (Sept. 6), Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 17), President’s Day (Feb. 21) and Memorial Day (May 30).

Schools will also be closed for Yom Kippur on Sept. 16, which is a Thursday.

Four professional duty days are on the calendar. These are days when teachers clock in-service hours, while kids stay home. The dates are Oct. 15, Jan. 11, March 18 and June 3.

Three hurricane makeup days are planned in the calendar:

  • Nov. 11 (Veterans Day)
  • Jan. 10 (after the first semester exam week ends)
  • Feb. 18 (the Friday before the President’s Day holiday). 

These dates serve as place-holders in the calendar in cases of a weather-related closure, like those due to hurricanes or tropical storms, that require schools to be closed.

Historically, the district will use the dates closest to the storm day to fill in any missed hours from school. If schools aren’t cancelled due to storms, the students and employees get the day off.

It should be noted that the exam week after winter break is immediately followed with two possible days off for students, thanks to Jan. 10 being established as a hurricane makeup day and Jan.11 listed as a teacher-training day.

The Feb. 18 hurricane day falls on a Friday, too. If the day is unused, it would make for a four-day weekend for staff and students because the following Monday is

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America needs a ‘tax break to go travel’: Booking CEO

The coronavirus pandemic has decimated the travel industry. Through business shutdowns and quarantining to limit the spread of the virus, air travel has dramatically declined as people stay home and push off family vacations and business trips. Millions of tourism and airline jobs have been lost as the industry awaits further government fiscal support. The International Air Transport Association estimated that it will be at least 2024 before air traffic reaches pre-pandemic levels.

“The recovery for travel is not going to be in quarters. It’s going to be in years,” said Booking Holdings (BKNG) CEO and President Glenn Fogel at Yahoo Finance’s All Markets Summit on Monday. Fogel oversees travel giant Booking as well as several other sites including Priceline.com, OpenTable, and Kayak.

In the second quarter, Booking Holdings experienced a loss of $376 million compared to adjusted earnings of $1.4 billion during the same period in 2019. Gross travel bookings plunged 91% in the second quarter of 2020, while revenue dropped 84%, and the company laid off roughly 4,000 employees globally.

Booking.com relies on a robust air travel industry which has been “traumatized,” Fogel wrote in a recent Yahoo Finance op-ed. According to recent TSA data, 983,745 travelers took to the skies on Oct. 25, compared to 2,478,287 on the same day a year ago.

The travel industry’s recovery will depend on three key players, Fogel said: pharmaceutical companies, the airline industry, and government.

Dealing with the public health crisis first is paramount. “We do read news about how more and more progress is being made on the vaccines which…is without doubt the most important thing in recovery for travel…the feeling that you can travel safely,”  said Fogel. “So as soon as that comes around, I believe we will get recovery.”



a sign on the side of a building: Headquarters of Booking.com in Amsterdam. (Photo by Robin Utrecht/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)


© Provided by Yahoo! Finance
Headquarters of Booking.com in Amsterdam. (Photo by Robin Utrecht/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The U.S. airline industry needs to maintain appropriate safety measures for passengers if it has any hopes of reigniting demand, Fogel said. 

“Air in the plane, it’s really safe because of the amount of filtration that is done there. A lot of people don’t know that, but you’re pretty safe with that air in the plane,” said Fogel. “But it’s perception, and people…think, hey, I don’t want to get on a plane and have a lot of other people in this long tube. It’s unfortunate for the industry, but that’s how human beings are.”

Tax breaks for travel

In his recent op-ed, Fogel wrote, “We cannot let the fight against this virus become political.”  America needs “a targeted program that makes it cheaper to travel, give [Americans] that incentive, that tax break to go travel,” he said.

He explained that government financial relief, in the form of tax credits and subsidies for consumers and businesses, would boost demand by making travel cheaper.

“Where the government can really help [is] by offering up tax credits or incentives to get people traveling. We’re doing that right now in Japan, for example, where

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Economic expectations for spring break in Havasu murky as universities cancel week of vacation | Local News Stories

Spring breakers are still expected in Lake Havasu City come March, but just how large the flood of student visitors will be remains murky as some universities cancel the week of freedom in the face of covid-19.

University of Arizona is among the nation’s schools announcing spring break cancellations. The move intends to limit the spread of covid-19 cases on campus — a trend that many schools across the country saw last March after students traveled far and wide, creating outbreaks of the disease upon their return.

So far, Grand Canyon University, Northern Arizona University and Arizona State University all still have the break listed on their academic calendars. However, as is the nature of functioning in a pandemic, that still has potential to change, depending on the situation as the holiday nears.

As an alternative to a week of vacation, UA is instead speckling the semester with days off here and there, called “Reading Days,” in an effort to still provide breaks for students and staff. This same method is being used in several schools across the U.S.

So what does that mean for Havasu, a city that thrives on tourism and has learned to prepare for busy holidays, like spring break?

Whatever the numbers end up being, the pandemic and cancellations are expected to impact spring break 2021, according to local tourism leaders. At this point, it’s hard to say what exactly that impact may look like.

“It’s especially difficult to speculate since each day, week, and month recently have required everyone to be extremely fluid in how we act and react to the pandemic,” Matt Brewster, president of the Lake Havasu Hospitality Association, said. “For example, when this all started, Lake Havasu was in a real bad spot with all of the shutdowns and it was bleak at best, but in very little time, we found ourselves the hub of a lot more activity than anyone would have expected — in some cases, more activity than previous years.”

Brewster also believes it’s a possibility that students could be just as “wound up and in need of some much-needed outdoor activity” as boaters have been — in which case, they’ll be prepared to pump up coronavirus precautions.

“Even with students who have had spring break canceled, they may still want to enjoy that day or two of ‘Reading Days’ sitting on the beach with a good book here in Havasu,” he added.

For now, the Lake Havasu Hospitality Association is continuing to follow state health guidance while developing protocols for spring break 2021, Brewster said, noting that their plans are fluid and will change based on current information.

Summer Winter Action Tours, a company that organizes spring break festivities and events in Havasu, is returning to Havasu for 2021 after three years of absence. Terence Concannon, GoLakeHavasu president, said he hasn’t spoken with SWAT about the cancellations yet, but he plans to chat with them this week.

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NYT: Trump family seeks rent break for DC hotel from Trump administration

The Trump Organization has looked into changing the Trump International Hotel’s lease payments to the General Services Administration in recent weeks, according to The Times, which cited people familiar with the matter.

The DC hotel is housed in the Old Post Office building, a federally-owned property on Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and Capitol building. The hotel is currently paying a monthly rent of $267,653 to the GSA, according to the GSA website.

CNN reached out to the Trump family and a spokesperson for the organization for comment but has not received a response. Eric Trump, one of the President’s sons who oversees the family business, confirmed the request to the Times and said they were asking the GSA about relief the agency may be giving other federal tenants.

“Just treat us the same,” Eric Trump told the Times. “Whatever that may be is fine.”

The GSA did not respond to requests for comment.

CNN has reported that Trump properties have collectively furloughed nearly 2,000 employees across several states as businesses are forced to close to stop the spread of the virus.

Trump International hotel workers were furloughed in Washington (237). Chicago (294 employees) and Las Vegas (552 employees). Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York furloughed 70 employees and Trump National Golf Club in Potomac Falls, Virginia, another 102 employees.

The coronavirus pandemic is costing Trump Organization properties over a million dollars in lost revenue daily, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Washington Post reported earlier this month the company has laid off or furloughed nearly 1,500 employees at its hotels in the United States and Canada.

Trump and his family have been barred from seeking relief from a Treasury Department $500 billion lending program included in the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package he signed last month.

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