Coronavirus: Hilton closes 150 hotels in China

Approximately 33,000 rooms are closed as part of prevention efforts across China

Hilton Wuhan Optics Valley is one of 150 hotels closed in China due to the Coronavirus epidemic. Courtesy Hilton
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Hilton has closed approximately 150 of its hotels across China due to the coronavirus crisis.

The closure means there are temporarily 33,000 less hotel rooms available in China, according to Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta.

"At this point, roughly 150 of our hotels in China totalling approximately 33,000 rooms are closed," confirmed Nassetta on Tuesday, February 11.

The announcement marks what is perhaps just the beginning of the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the hotel industry.

According to hotel data intelligence company STR, hotel occupancy declined 75 per cent across China from January 14 to January 26 this year.

Hilton is the first hotel company to make a public statement , but other hotels have also shut up shop. Skift reported that Best Western has closed hotels in China and IHG has shut public facilities in several of its hotels across the country.

Not only China

The Diamond Princess cruise ship is seen anchored at the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama port on February 13, 2020. At least 218 people on board a cruise ship quarantined off Japan have tested positive for the novel COVID-19 coronavirus, authorities said February 13 as they announced plans to move some elderly passengers off the ship. / AFP / Kazuhiro NOGI
The Diamond Princess cruise ship is seen anchored at the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama port. AFP

All sectors of the travel industry have been affected by the outbreak.

Other hotels in countries around the world have reported dips in occupancy levels due to the crisis and the restrictions in place for travelling to and from China. Major airlines, including Emirates, Etihad, American Airlines and British Airways have cancelled flights to and from China.

Cruise passengers have been quarantined on ships around Asia.

Economic impact

Tourism Economics said there could be seven to 25 million fewer Chinese departures in 2020 as a direct result of the virus.

As the single largest outbound travel market in the world, in terms of spending, China's travel and flight restrictions will also impact luxury goods brands as Chinese tourists stay home rather than travelling overseas for shopping sprees.

The destinations likely to be most affected are Hong Kong, Macao, Thailand, and Japan which accounted for just under 70 per cent of all mainland China outbound travel in 2019.

In the UAE, Chinese tourism numbers have been on the up in recent years. In 2019, Chinese visitors were the second and fourth highest ranked source markets for Abu Dhabi and Dubai, respectively said Colliers International.

See the latest updates on the coronavirus crisis here.