BOSTON (SHNS) – Massachusetts this year is expected to endure a sharper drop in hotel industry jobs than the nation as a whole, according to a new report.

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association plan to meet with members of Congress in every state over the next three days as part of a Virtual Action Summit to share information about the hotel industry landscape and call for additional federal aid.

new AHLA report released as those meetings get underway asserts that one in five hotel jobs in 2019 will not return this year, leaving the sector down by about 486,000 jobs. In Massachusetts, three in 10 hotel jobs, or nearly 13,000 jobs, will not have returned by the end of this year. As it appeals for relief, the hotel sector is focusing on job impacts, but also on local taxes.

The association says hotel room revenue will be down $44 billion this year compared to 2019, and state and local officials are feeling the impacts of $20 billion in unrealized tax revenue over the past two years. Leisure travel is leading the recent surge in air travel, but business travel remains down and hotels and restaurants are only beginning to see an increase in business due to the resumption of in-person convention business.

The AHLA report pegs Massachusetts hotel sector jobs at just over 29,700 for 2021, down from more than 42,500 in 2019. The lodging association wants Congress to pass legislation requiring the General Services Administration to calculate federal government travel per diem rates for fiscal 2022 and 2023 using data from 2018 and 2019, prior to the pandemic impacts on the hotel industry, rather than using 2020 data. They are also backing the Save Hotel Jobs Act which would provide grants to cover payroll and benefit expenses for workers, and require grantees to give laid-off workers recall rights to ensure those who lost their hotel jobs due to the pandemic are able to get back to work.

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