SEATTLE, Wash. (JULY 22, 2022)The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) joined hospitality and business leaders from the Seattle Mayor’s office, Visit Seattle, the Seattle Chamber of Commerce and the Washington Hospitality Association today to discuss how surging summer travel demand is creating historic opportunities for hotel employees and underscoring the economic importance of travel and hotels to the Seattle area.

Nearly seven in ten Americans (69%) are planning to travel this summer and 60% say they are likely to take more vacations this year compared to 2020-21, according to a recent survey conducted by Morning Consult and commissioned by AHLA.

To meet the demand for summer travel, hotels are offering employees historic career opportunities, including higher wages, more benefits and more flexibility than ever before. In the Seattle-area alone, hotels are looking to fill more than 1,800 open jobs.

Speakers at today’s event discussed how the surge in summer travel and resulting hotel hiring spree is highlighting the important economic role hotels play in Seattle and across Washington, where hotels lost nearly $3 billion in room revenue in 2020 and 2021, resulting in a drop of more than $547 million in state and local tax revenue.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has left an indelible mark on travel, but we are optimistic about the future,” said American Hotel and Lodging Association President & CEO Chip Rogers. “Hotels have always been a major economic engine in communities across the nation, including Seattle. And that fact is on full display as hotels are making historic workforce investments to attract and retain the employees needed to meet this summer’s significant travel demand. Hotel wages, benefits and workplace flexibility are better than they’ve ever been, making now a great time to choose a career in the hotel industry.”

“Here in Seattle, we always look forward to showcasing the unique attractions and character of our city to tourists throughout the U.S. and across the globe. When travel and tourism came to a standstill during the pandemic, our hospitality industry suffered and worked hard to stay afloat,” said Kendee Yamaguchi, Deputy Mayor of External Affairs. “That’s why now it’s so important that we take advantage of revitalized travel back to Seattle and prepare for the continued uptick in tourism and hotel stays. Tourism is critical to Seattle’s economy, and I look forward to continuing to work citywide with our hotel, business and tourism leaders to support leisure and business travel back to the city.”

“Like so many other big cities, Seattle’s hospitality industry took a significant hit during the downturn of the pandemic – but thankfully travel and tourism are on the upswing and returning to pre-pandemic levels,” said Anthony Anton, President & CEO of the Washington Hospitality Association. “We’re in the swing of welcoming tourists back and look forward to having more travelers experience our great hotels and attractions.”

“Tourism is an $8.1 billion industry in Seattle and a major contributor to our regional economy. After a challenging couple years during the pandemic, we are encouraged to see the resurgence of our travel and hospitality industries,” said John Boesche, Senior Vice President of Tourism at Visit Seattle. “Seattle’s hotels, restaurants, retail, and attractions are excited to be, once again, welcoming visitors from all over the world to the Emerald City.”

“Tourism plays an enormous role in supporting the economic vigor of Seattle as a whole,” said Kerri Schroeder, Seattle Chamber Board Chair and President of Bank of America Seattle. “Filled hotels and convention centers are not only beneficial to the hotel industry – our restaurants, shops and small businesses also reap the benefits of reignited travel and tourism. With travel increasing back to our great city, we look forward to continuing to support our hotels, businesses and workforce in our shared effort to keep Seattle tourism strong and ultimately strengthen our economy.”

“Seattle continues to be a popular destination for national and international travelers to visit. As our tourism industry has grown, the demand for hotels has increased,” said CFO & Vice President of R.C. Hedreen Co. Zahoor Ahmed. “We’re thrilled to support the growth and success of Seattle’s tourism industry and look forward to reignited travel back to the city. We are committed to supporting our hotel workforce needs as tourism picks up in Seattle and across the region.”

Today’s event is one in a series of “Reigniting Travel” events AHLA is hosting in major cities across the nation in conjunction with its Hospitality is Working campaign.

Hospitality is Working highlights the hotel industry’s commitment to investing in its workforce, protecting employees and guests, and supporting local communities across the country as more Americans begin to travel. It includes television and digital advertising as well as AHLA events around the country alongside local hoteliers, economic development organizations and community groups.