NYC's hotel industry continues to plummet, asks city for help

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Hotels, like so many in the hospitality industry, are suffering amid the pandemic and now hotel owners are asking for help.

Normally bustling hotels in New York City's heaviest traveled tourist areas are now in crisis due to the pandemic, business restrictions, and lack of tourism.

Room rates have plummeted without tourists to patronize them or their restaurants, and thousands of workers have lost their jobs.

"New York's hotels are in serious trouble," Hotel Association President and CEO Vijay Dandapani said. "Two hundred hotels closed either temporarily or permanently, thousands jobs have been lost."

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"Thousands of people count on our industry jobs to take care of their families and the pandemic has devastated livelihoods," said Rebecca Hubbard, GM of Lotte New York Palace.

During 2019, hotels brought in more than $33 billion in revenue to the city and paid more than $3 billion in taxes, but now nearly 28% have closed their doors, laying off 26,000 workers permanently.

"I don't need to tell anyone that the last 10 months have been a nightmare, particularly for the hotel industry" Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said. "Occupancy rates are below 40%, revenue is down 80%."

The hotels are asking the city to work with them or else there may not be a place for the 66 million tourists to return to when the pandemic is over. And there won't be an end to the suffering for those who are now out of work.

Brewer has proposed turning empty hotels into permanent low-income housing, but the Hotel Association is asking the city and state for an interest rate abatement to help them get back on their feet, keep remaining hotel workers employed, and preparing to welcome back tourists.

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