Hotel operator Marriott International has said that it expects room occupancy rates in Greater China to rise to 60% next month and forecast that it could recover to pre-coronavirus levels by the start of 2021, as domestic travel in the country ticks up.
Craig S. Smith, the company's Asia-Pacific group president, said that the pace of recovery is also "encouraging", with an average occupancy rate of 37% in the region in July.
"Obviously Asia will lead the world recovery in our industry," Smith told Reuters in an interview. "For all the Asia-Pacific I think the recovery to pre-COVID levels will be next year. We are hoping that China recovers sometime around the first quarter of 2021."
The average occupancy rate in Greater China stood at 55% in July, Marriott added. In February, the rate fell to less than 10%.
Reopening Expectations And Staff Relocations
Marriott said that while the pandemic has delayed some of its hotel openings, it expects to open 70 to 80 hotels in the Asia Pacific this year. On Wednesday July 22, it opened its first JW Marriott-branded hotel in Japan's Nara city.
Smith said that while the company has had to put staff on voluntary no-pay leave, it has been trying to relocate staff to new hotels to try and keep jobs.