HARTFORD, Connecticut (AP) – Connecticut could be lagging behind most states in recovering hotel jobs lost during the coronavirus pandemic, according to projections from a national trade group.
The American Hotel and Lodging Association, based in Washington, DC, predicts that the state will have recovered just under 72% of its approximately 26,000 direct jobs in the hotel industry by the end of the year. The 7,400 unfilled jobs forecast is a darker forecast than that made by the group in May, when it predicted a gap of around 5,900 jobs.
The group predicts that only four states – Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts and New York – and the District of Columbia will return to lower percentages than Connecticut by the end of 2021. It estimates the hospitality industry will end 2021. down by around 500,000 jobs from 2019 levels.
Direct hotel jobs include positions such as housekeeper and receptionist, but do not include jobs such as restaurant or retail employees or other small businesses supported by the hospitality industry.
Experts say vacation and leisure travel in Connecticut has rebounded, but business travel has lagged considerably. Business travelers represent approximately 60% of the hotel industry’s clientele.
“We still face incredible challenges,” Ginny Kozlowski, executive director of the Connecticut Hotel and Lodging Association, told Hartford Courant, adding that the industry “is in serious trouble.”
Tourism promotion and the hospitality sector are expected to receive more than $ 60 million in aid from the state budget and federal relief funding, the newspaper reported. The state is also expected to roll out a new grant program early next year that will help hotels and related businesses.
Kozlowski told the newspaper that the hospitality industry may issue an additional appeal this year or in early 2022 for more help.
More than 70% of Connecticut residents aged 12 and older have been vaccinated, one of the highest rates in the country. But the positivity rate for infection tests has increased recently as the delta variant of the virus has spread.