Richard Turen
Richard Turen

No attempts at humor today. Instead, I thought I would try to put everything that has happened to our devastated industry in some sort of financial perspective. We keep hearing that our profession has been "decimated" and that many of us are leaving to do something else with our lives.

But I am just not seeing that. For the vast majority of agents I have been speaking with, survival and strength are the norm.

But, oh, it has been a terrible ride for the past year, and I would never minimize the struggles ahead. Here are some facts, courtesy of Hotel Tech Report, that might help place it all in some form of conversational context:

Global revenue in travel and tourism is expected to produce $447 billion in revenue in 2020. Sounds impressive until you realize that projections had called for $712 billion.

The part of the world with the largest decrease in tourism revenue was Europe.

The World Travel & Tourism Council has predicted that, when all is said and done, 121 million of the 330 million jobs in our sector worldwide will disappear.

In several studies, McKinsey Consulting has projected a drop in international tourist arrivals of somewhere near 70%. Think about it. Seven out of 10 travelers who want to visit won't be making the trip. 

When will we return to pre-Covid levels of travel and tourism recovery? Unfortunately, according to McKinsey and other leading analysts, there is widespread agreement that full recovery will not occur before 2024.

One of the associated industries to which we are emotionally tied is the restaurant industry. Would Paris, Rome, Barcelona or Hong Kong be worth visiting if half of the restaurants were closed? Statistica reports that, worldwide, the decline in "seated diners" in restaurants is down 41%. Imagine the effect that single stat has on the small farms that supply these restaurants.

Hawaii almost always evokes positive images. If only we could live there. Tourism, as one might imagine, is about 21% of the state's total economy. This past April, studies show, tourist arrivals in Hawaii plummeted a staggering 99.5%. That kind of "dead stop" could only be envisioned in a science fiction movie. But it has happened in our country. 

In Austin, Texas, 10,777 hotel rooms were booked on April 11, 2019. On the same date in 2020 that number was 342 rooms, according to the Austin Business Journal.

The airline industry has been hit unusually hard. IATA figures reveal that international flights on May 4 of last year showed an 80% decrease compared with the same date in 2019.

The Great Recession was one of this century's most significant worldwide events. The world's airlines suffered a $30 billion loss that year, and a number of carriers did not survive. To date, the total loss in airline revenue since Covid exceeds $84 billion, IATA reports.

In order to survive social distancing mandates, as presently proposed, the president of IATA has suggested that ticket prices may rise as much as 50% in the months ahead. 

The American Hotel and Lodging Association reports U.S. hotels have lost more than $46 billion in revenue since February of last year. Surveys are showing average occupancy rates hovering around 20%. Most hotel owners surveyed are claiming that any occupancy rate below 35% makes it impossible to operate their business.

Despite it all, I have to be optimistic about our future as an industry. There is not much else short of nuclear war that they can throw at us. 


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