What the numbers say about the ongoing recovery in the global hospitality industry


Despite the financial problems, the global hospitality industry continues to thrive. Prices and occupancy have increased worldwide even as consumer costs continue to rise.

The latest HotStats research found the industry to be producing strong numbers. Occupancy rates are up in Europe; the United States is approaching pre-pandemic levels and China is showing signs of life.


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The market is beginning to stabilize in the United States after sharp declines between January and March. HotStats research found the country may be hitting a plateau. However, performance is within 10% of pre-pandemic levels.

The current health emergency has hit the hotel and restaurant industry the hardest in Latin America, where 60% of staff are women and 80% are informal workers.

Struggles in Latin America

Lockdowns have been the main measure to stop the spread of COVID-19, but the cost has been very high for jobs in tourism. In Latin America’s tourist hotels and restaurants alone, 45% of workers lost their jobs in the second quarter of 2020 due to the pandemic, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO), with women and young people being most affected.

Since the start of the pandemic in Mexico, there have been fewer jobs in tourism. Yet the largest annual decline occurred in the first quarter of 2021, with almost 18% fewer jobs than in the same period of 2020, according to data from the Mexican Secretary of Tourism (SECTUR). . Hospitality and restaurant operations are the hardest hit, with 35% of businesses closing permanently.

The recovery of tourism is key to overcoming the job crisis caused by COVID-19 in the country, according to the ILO report entitled “Towards a sustainable recovery of employment in the tourism sector in Latin America and In the Caribbean”. In the Caribbean, it affected 35% of employment, while in Latin America it was 10%.

Tourism accounts for 15.5 percent of Mexico’s GDP, according to the ILO publication. In this country, almost 75% of all visitors are nationals, a minimal advantage given the health crisis and the greater travel restrictions.

On the road to recovery

The Ritz-Carlton, Mexico City.
The Ritz-Carlton, Mexico City. (photo courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton)

In the first quarter of the year, there were 3.6 million direct jobs in tourism, which means that this industry represents 8% of total employment in the country, according to the Ministry of Tourism. Before the pandemic, that figure was 13.3%, the ILO report said.

In April 2020, when the country recorded a high number of coronavirus cases but the containment was not yet announced, more than 4,492,000 employees worked in restaurants and accommodation services, according to the National Survey on profession and employment (ENOE). In June 2021, there were just over 4 million workers in the tourism industry.

ENOE figures show a recovery, although more than 452,000 tourism workers have not been able to return to work, representing 10% of the pre-pandemic workforce. The ILO report indicates that of the total number of jobs generated in Mexico, nearly 9% are related to tourism activities. Meanwhile, in rural areas, tourism represents 5% of the sources of income.

Women are the most affected group

In Latin America, women in tourist hotels and restaurants hold 58% of employment, according to the ILO report, especially “in occupations related to care tasks”, in which wages are lower.

This trend can be observed everywhere, but the situation is worsening in countries where the unemployment rate for women is highest. Some figures to consider: in Mexico, 54% of jobs in tourism are held by women, while in Bolivia this figure reaches 79%, and in Argentina it is 47%.

At the regional level, of all female workers, 8.8% work in hotels or tourist restaurants. However, Mexico’s rate is 12%, the third highest after Bolivia (12.7%) and Peru (12.1%). According to ENOE, of the more than 4 million people currently employed in hotels and restaurants, 60% are women.

Four Seasons Caribbean Resorts, Four Seasons Resorts, Four Seasons, Four Seasons Resort Nevis, Resorts in Nevis, Resorts in Saint Kitts and Nevis
Aerial view of the Four Seasons Resort Nevis. (photo via Four Seasons Resorts)

The report also found that most jobs generated in these sectors are informal. Young people are another group strongly affected by this problem, with 58% in the same situation.

In Mexico, the numbers are even higher. The rate of informal employment of women in tourism is 80.4% and that of young people is 74.1%. Compared to seven other countries – Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica and Peru – Mexico is where more female workers are employed without social security, written contracts, stable wages or jobs.

Colombia (80.3 per cent) is second in rates of informal employment of female workers. When it comes to young people, the country swaps places with Mexico. In Colombia, 75% of young people working in tourism do so informally, while in Mexico it is 74.1%.

Although the ILO report does not include figures for migrants, it highlights that this group is also subject to informal employment.

The report concludes that while the tourism pandemic “has not affected all workers equally, the loss has been greatest for women, young workers, migrant workers and those who have taken informal jobs.” However, for those who are part of more than one group, for example, a young migrant woman, the adverse effects of this crisis have been greater.

The Middle East returns to Earth

After reaching a high level of profit in March, gross operating profit per available room (GOPPAR) in the Middle East has seen two consecutive months of decline. Still, the good news is that the region continues to exceed pre-pandemic levels, and the decline is likely more related to seasonality than COVID-19 or other factors.

GOPPAR hit $73 in May, up $16 from May 2019. The rate continues to drive earnings gains, with the average daily rate (ADR) hitting $184; however, the rate has retreated from its peak in April near $285.

Cost drift has an impact on the net result. Total payrolls are still below pre-pandemic levels, but are climbing and are now $22 higher above their April 2020 low. Meanwhile, utility spending is rising, but it is more likely there is a seasonal pattern with utilities going up during the region’s warmer months.

China is trying to find a place

Chengdu, temple, buildings, China
China’s average daily rate is only $2 higher than it was during its pandemic low in April 2020. (photo via iStock/Getty Images Plus/Nate Hovee)

After COVID shutdowns hampered much of the country’s travel and tourism industry, China is still underperforming compared to the rest of the world, but there are encouraging signs of life.

Occupancy is still well down from 2019, but rose six percentage points in May from the previous month. The problem, however, is an exhaustion rate that now sits $23 lower than in May 2019. China’s ADR is only $2 higher than it was at its peak. pandemic trough in April 2020.

The good news is that as travel returns, so will hotel performance. GOPPAR in May only hit $5.53, but was coming off consecutive months of negative GOPPAR. Hoping for the start of a more positive and robust summer season.

Company trip

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Business travel is also showing steady improvement, and HotStats found that the percentage of corporate revenue mix in May is now within three percentage points of its May 2019 comparison. (photo via iStock/Getty) Pictures Plus/skyNext)

Business travel is also showing steady improvement, and HotStats found that the percentage of business revenue mix in May is now within three percentage points of its May 2019 comparison. per available room (GOPPAR) topped $90 in March and stayed at that level.

Europe has the highest occupancy rates since November 2019. The ADR or bonus is now equal to or higher than before the pandemic. The May 2022 European ADR was $30 higher than May 2019 and is now up 127% from its all-time low in May 2020, according to HotStats.

Ancillary revenue has also increased and is now only $6 from its May 2019 level. GOPPAR is also now at the same level as in 2019.

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