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Travel and Tourism

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Eager to make up for lost time, many travelers — including business travelers — have adapted to a new reality in the COVID era, and the tourism and hospitality industries are expected to see an uptick in 2022, another welcome boost to the economy.

According to a recent report from American Hotel and Lodging Association, hotel occupancy rates across the country are expected to hit 63.4 percent this year, up from 57.6 percent in 2021. If that holds true, rates in 2022 would near the pre- pandemic hotel occupancy levels of 66 percent that were seen in 2018 and 2019.

Hotel room revenue is also expected to be near 2019 levels, with the country’s 5.4 million hotel rooms generating an anticipated $168.4 billion — less than a percentage point away from 2019 revenues, according to the report. Hotel room revenue fell to just $85.6 billion nationwide in 2020 before rebounding to $141.6 billion in 2021.

Adding to this optimism is the fact that in many parts of the world, many people in the business world are returning to more in-person events. It might not exactly be business as usual, but as things slowly get back to normal, people are starting to travel for work again.

According to the Global Business Travel Association, business travel spending worldwide will likely jump more than 37 percent in 2022 to over $1 trillion but the normally lucrative industry won’t fully recover until 2024. Still, it’s a step in the right direction.

Closer to home, there are numerous attractions and events attracting travel and tourism in the tri-state region.

In this month’s MBA Business Magazine, we’ll showcase some of the crowning jewels in the area, including the Hagen History Center. The Center, named in honor of its benefactor and businessman Thomas B. Hagen, chairman of Erie Insurance Group, is a public museum that includes exhibit buildings, archival and curatorial collections, and historic houses in Erie and Girard, Pennsylvania.

We’ll also hear from Captain William Sabatini of the U.S. Brig Niagara on the Flagship Niagara League and plans under way for one of the region’s most highly anticipated events of the summer, Tall Ships® Erie 2022, presented by Highmark.

And, speaking of excitement, the MBA continues to take its training courses on the road with professional development and HR courses offered both onsite and in regional locations throughout the Association’s membership area, including at the MBA’s Pittsburgh area office in Cranberry Township — so be sure to check out this month’s Training Catalog or visit mbausa.org to learn more!