Government shutdown has $8M daily toll on U.S. hotel industry

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U.S. hotels are taking the persistent federal shutdown particularly hard, according to a trade association for the lodging industry.

Uncertainty over the continuing troubles in Washington — including difficulties for international travel and closed national monuments and parks — have cost the lodging and hospitality industry more than $8 million per day, reports Andrew Ramonas in the monthly journal Corporate Counsel.

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), which represents hoteliers nationwide, estimate the communities surrounding national parks will lose as much as $76 million for every day the shutdown lasts. Most of the harm comes from foreign travelers cancelling U.S. visits and American citizens becoming increasingly wary of travel-related government services.

Industry concerns prompted the organization to draft a letter to Congress and President Barack Obama, calling to end the shutdown and quickly raise the federal debt ceiling.   

“Current fiscal uncertainty and the increasing lack of consumer confidence are disrupting recent economic progress and job creation,” the letter reads, “in which the lodging industry has played a significant role.”

“The lodging industry will continue to be a leader in U.S. economic growth if our leaders can provide fiscal certainty,” it concludes.

Nearly seventy hoteliers signed the letter, including Best Western International, Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, La Quinta Inns & Suites and the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

“For every day that passes that President Obama and Congress are not at the negotiating table seeking an end to this crisis, the American economy — and the lodging industry — continue to suffer,” said Katherine Lugar, AH&LA president and chief executive officer, in a statement.

“Hoteliers are a major economic driver and job creator across the country and the industry’s ability to continue its growth is hamstrung by inaction from our policymakers,” Lugar added.

The closing of national parks come at the peak of the tourist season for many.

Yosemite National Park would have few vacancies this time of the year, according to the AH&LA, which represents nearly 11,000 lodging industry members.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.