Staff scarcity leaves Hawaii hotel industry in great peril

Published on : Wednesday, January 27, 2021

According to a recent report published by the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) released on Jan. 21, projected that Hawaii hotels would continue to experience low occupancy in 2021. The report further mentioned that only half of the hotel workers or service providers employed in 2019 returned to work in 2021.

United Here Local 5 is one of the Hawaii largest hotel unions and represents 11,500 hotel workers. Local 5 said, 8,000 of their union workers lost their jobs due to the pandemic and 1,000 have been hired back to work.

Local 5 financial secretary Eric Gill mentioned that they are experiencing reluctance in returning to work and staff scarcity is mounting in the hotels which is forcing reduced occupancy. Gill agreed with AHLA’s 2021 projection but said he is been fighting to get workers back to work. He further added that the industry is struggling hard to encourage workers those suffered due to sudden lay off to return to work and boost the industry, thus encourage business.

Bill 80 was proposed to Honolulu City Council in October, 2020, which would require hotels to recall a set number of employees calculated by occupancy and would require daily cleaning and sanitizing of every occupied guest room. Though several factors affected the travel and tourism business last year, now every organisation is willing to reconnect with travellers and bring back workers to ensure adequate services to people.


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