The hotel industry in Rhode Island appears to be recovering
(The Center Square) — Hotel tax revenues within Rhode Island in the year ahead are projected to increase by a quarter of the amount collected the year before the pandemic, according to a recent analysis.
The American Hotel and Lodging Association recently unveiled a report, comparing hotel income and employment between 2019 and 2023.
In 2019, a total of $100.8 million in state and local hotel-derived taxes were collected across Rhode Island. According to the association, Rhode Island is poised to collect $126.1 million in taxes by the end of 2023.
If the projections do come to fruition, this year’s hotel tax revenues will represent a 25.1% increase.
The positive trend within Rhode Island mimics what is taking place across much of the country, Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the association, said in a statement.
“Hotels are making significant strides toward recovery, supporting millions of good-paying jobs and generating billions in state and local tax revenue in communities across the nation,” Rogers said.
“To continue growing, we need to hire more people,” Rogers said. “Fortunately, there’s never been a better time to be a hotel employee, with wages, benefits, flexibility and upward mobility better than ever before.”
The association’s recent analysis of the hotel industry did indicate projected four-year declines in two other metrics in Rhode Island.
The organization anticipates average lodging levels of 63.9% this year. By contrast, hotel occupancy rates in 2019 were at 65.2% across Rhode Island.
Labor-related challenges also could come into play within Rhode Island’s hotels – particularly in the busy summer tourism season – as 2023 continues to unfold.
Against the backdrop of the nationwide labor shortage of recent years, employment levels within the sector are expected to remain down 7.6% statewide from 2019 figures.
A total of 6,114 people are projected to work directly through hotel employment in Rhode Island, according to the association’s analysis, compared to the 6,617 people that were on payrolls in 2019.
The same trend lines are anticipated in supported hotel employment, with 23,304 people working projected this year, compared to 25,219 employees in 2019.
Recruitment in hotels and other businesses within the state’s broader hospitality industry has been an ongoing focal point through such trade groups as the Rhode Island Hospitality Association.
In a statement in the association’s most recent annual report, RIHA Chairman William Kitsilis said the hotel industry serves a diverse population within Rhode Island – including immigrants and first-generation Americans.
“Hospitality offers on-the-job training, the ability for advancement and, with hard work and determination, it can be a gateway for success,” Kitsilis said.
Originally published by The Center Square. Republished with permission.
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