P.E.I. hotels left with plenty of vacancy due to COVID-19
Some reporting as much as 80 per cent drop in business
Some hotel operators on P.E.I. are reporting a nearly 80 per cent drop in business this summer due to COVID-19.
They said the Atlantic bubble resulted in a small bump, but most hotel rooms stayed empty throughout the lucrative summer season and they don't expect it to change anytime soon
Canada's Best Value Inn in Charlottetown closed for close to three months during the pandemic. Since reopening in June, most of their business has been Islanders on weekend getaways, said general manager Cassie McPhee.
She said stays are down about 60 per cent and they've had to lay off five full-time staff and cut back hours in the hotel's restaurant.
"We have kinda been able to make it through the summer for sure and hoping we can make it through the fall and winter as well."
I think you will see, absolutely, some properties not open just because they do the math and it says it's not worth it."— Kevin Murphy
Kevin Murphy, owner of Murphy Hospitality Group which includes the Great George Hotel and the Hotel on Pownal, said some hotel operators he's spoken with have lost up to 80 per cent of their business.
He expects some won't be able to make it through the winter.
"I think it is going to be a different landscape, no question. I think you will see, absolutely, some properties not open just because they do the math and it says it's not worth it."
Operators are trying to come up with a plan that will keep them afloat over the fall and winter.
Murphy predicts 2021 will be another difficult year for operators and many of these rooms will stay vacant.
He doesn't expect travel by air, cruise ship, or motor coach to return to normal anytime soon, which will have an impact on P.E.I. tourism operators as well.
'Going to be a reset'
"It's going to be reset, let's call it. What that's going to be like that's going to be determined also by the operators and the government."
Murphy believes P.E.I. can capitalize on its reputation as being a safe place, especially with its low number of COVID-19 cases.
He and other operators hope to work with government on a plan to help them stay open so they're still around when travel does return to normal.
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With files from Wayne Thibodeau