In various interviews, Best Western CEO David Kong had expressed his concerns about the hotel and travel industry in the face of the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has upset many business industries all over the world. And among those industries that struggled, the hotel and travel sector has also encountered troubles in the face of virus fears, business shutdowns, and movement restrictions. And longtime CEO David Kong thinks the industry needs the vaccine soon, telling CNN Business.
Bad for Businesses
Kong serves as the chief of Best Western, an international hotel and resorts brand. He told CNN Business, “If we don’t get a vaccine soon and business doesn’t return, it’s going to get much worse.”
"There is so much pain and suffering, but they're numb to it because the stock market is doing well and unemployment is below 9%," Best Western CEO David Kong said about politicians.
Furthermore, Kong told CNBC that he can’t exactly tell when a recovery will happen. But he noted that the crisis is not sustainable. “As people use up all their savings and reserves, they’re going to default on their loans. And then what?”
When the virus hit the US, it caused the country to sink into economic uncertainty. It also left millions of workers out of work, particularly those in the hotel businesses. It comes following the shutdowns of hotels several months ago. In a Yahoo! Finance interview, Kong estimated that “most of our hotels have laid off at least half of their staff now,” and he expects it to grow. Particularly, CNN reports that franchisees of Kong’s Best Westerns had let go of an estimated 20,000 jobs since the pandemic happened. In his own company, around 800 corporate employees had left.
Moreover, Kong cited an American Hotel and Lodging Association survey, in which he said that most hotels only have six months of reserves left.
Stalling Stimulus Talks
Kong also expressed his frustration regarding the failure to agree on another round of stimulus. “They are just so stuck in their positions. I feel so aggravated by it. Why can’t we work something out?”
Well, it could be because other areas of the economy are on the path to recovery. In addition, more people have returned to jobs in the past months. Kong said: “There is so much pain and suffering, but they’re numb to it because the stock market is doing well.”