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Winnipeg, November 10, 2020 – Today the Manitoba Hotel Association (MHA) released its study on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Manitoba hotel industry.

The study, prepared by MNP, found that hotel revenues, profits, and employment plunged in the spring as a result of pandemic shutdowns and restrictions, and have not returned to anywhere near normal levels. All hotels were severely impacted, with conference hotels suffering the worst blow – an 89% drop in profits and 80% workforce reduction in the second quarter of 2020.

“We asked MNP to prepare this study to independently assess what we have been hearing from our members – that they are absolutely devastated and need help to keep their doors open,” said Scott Jocelyn, MHA President and CEO. “Our industry is uniquely impacted by restrictions on travel, gatherings, dining, and licensed premises.

We are suffering, and there is no light at the end of the tunnel as these restrictions are ramped up again during the COVID-19 second wave.”

In addition to information about financial impact, respondents were asked which government programs they accessed for financial assistance. The federal government Emergency Wage Subsidy was found to be the most helpful to the industry, while the provincial programs have not been widely accessed.

“Unfortunately, the provincial programs have not been a fit for our industry,” said Scott Jocelyn. “We have bills coming due, including property tax bills, that many operators will simply not be able to pay. We need assistance from the Province.”

The financial impact portion of the study found that in 2019, Manitoba hotels employed about 10,900 people and supported another 3,500 jobs. The industry contributed almost $400 million to the provincial government through taxes, liquor sales, and VLTs.

“Hotels are an economic powerhouse for the provincial government,” said Scott Jocelyn. “When hotels suffer, provincial revenues suffer.”

With the Code Orange and Red restrictions that have been introduced recently, hotels are once again facing the devastating economic conditions they experienced in the spring. The MNP study found that hotels have already taken steps such as deferring long-term debt payments, cancelling planned upgrades, cutting discretionary expenses, and making significant changes to staffing at all levels. However, with high fixed costs and debt obligations, many hotels may not be able to weather the sustained loss of income.

“This is an industry in crisis,” said Scott Jocelyn. “We need help if are going to continue to be here to contribute to Manitoba’s economy when the COVID-19 pandemic is over.”