Summer travel forecasts have longer wait times and fewer options

After a year of coronavirus blockade, the beginning of the summer solstice begins with a vacation plan made possible by the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions. But a serious labor shortage warns travelers: anticipate delays and pack a little patience.

There is a shortage of guards and hotel housekeepers. The same is true for rental cars. You can also enjoy a fruity cocktail at the hotel’s Tiki Bar.

Labor shortages are hitting national tourist destinations, as they are trying to recover from a pandemic lost year, and despite many Americans struggling to finally escape, the travel industry May hinder your recovery. This means travelers can expect fewer menu choices at restaurants, longer check-in lines at hotels and airports, and fewer rides and food stands at theme parks.

Some hotels do not fill all rooms or change sheets frequently due to a shortage of housekeepers. In six of the most popular national parks, including Yosemite, Rocky Mountain, Acadia and Zion, many visitors need to be booked in advance to maintain social distance.

Michelle Woodhull, president of Charming Inns, which includes four small hotels and fine dining in Charleston, South Carolina, said:

Woodhal said the company restricted room reservations by 20% in a few weeks and reduced the number of seats in restaurants. Woodhal recently filed a complaint from a customer who couldn’t secure a table for four weeks.

“Unfortunately, that’s the reality,” she said, adding that it’s better than providing poor service. “Which company wants to abandon its business, especially after the year we spent?”

Still, the tourism industry is showing signs of revival. Domestic leisure travel is at pre-pandemic levels, according to airline executives, and the number of people passing through US airports daily can exceed two million before the end of the week. This is the first time since early March 2020.

Air travelers planning to rent a car on Memorial Day weekend may be out of luck. Car rental is rare and expensive, according to government statistics. The average cost is about double that of a year ago.

The AAA Automobile Club estimates that 37 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from their homes during their next vacation. This is a 60% increase compared to last year. But if AAA is right this weekend, it means there will be 6 million fewer travelers than the same vacation in 2019.

The reasons for the labor shortage are hotly debated.Many employers blame the extras of the federal government $ 300 a week With unemployment assistance. However, many hospitality workers who suddenly lost their jobs a year ago New career And it doesn’t come back.

Some employers in the hospitality industry want to hire new workers at low wages rather than recalling dismissed employees, said D., chairman of unions at hotels, games and airports. Taylor said.

A major hotel chain is considering abolishing housekeeping and guest service jobs, and casinos are moving to cut back on food and beverage jobs, he told Congress subcommittee this week.

“This is bad for our customers, but it’s also bad for our workers and the community because it’s the backbone of the service economy, including housekeepers, cooks and servers,” Taylor said.

In a survey of 4,000 travel and tourism workers earlier this year, Peter Rich, director of the Florida Atlantic University Hospitality and Tourism Management Program, found that many work on higher wages and predictable schedules. And showed that he had plans to leave the industry soon.

The travel sector as a whole is facing moments of change and needs to be offered, he said. Better wages and allowances And rethink how it treats employees.

“It’s time for our industry to wake up and make sure it’s important. Cathy Valestriere, general manager of Cranes Beach House, a boutique hotel in Delray Beach, Florida, said. It states as follows.

She managed to keep most of the staff and brought in outside workers to provide massages and yoga, but the hotel does not serve breakfast and the poolside tiki bar has people serving drinks. It is closed because it is not. Managers and maintenance staff are engaged in housekeeping duties.

Funtown Splashtown USA, Maine’s largest amusement park, opens on Memorial Day weekends, but due to lack of enough workers, it has reduced business hours and operates only five days a week.

Parks in Saco, Maine require lifeguards, ride operators, and cleanup crews, despite offering wage increases and a four-season pass for summer employment.Decreased number of International students Another problem for the state’s largest seasonal employer.

Raj Kapoor, who manages a popular food court on the oceanfront in Belmar, NJ, hired 14 people in the summer, but scoops ice cream, rolls burritos, and sells sodas, milkshakes, and candy. I was able to use 10 people.

The labor shortage affected his business in other less obvious ways. The soda, which was promised the next day, took a week and a half to arrive because the carrier didn’t have enough delivery drivers.

Barry Gutin, co-owner of the eastern Cuba Libre restaurant chain, surprises tourists who dine at hotspots with time-limited restaurants, streamlined menus, and some seating sections closed. Please do not. The coast.

To attract workers and help them move forward, they went up to raising wages and offering English and Spanish language courses and personal financial training. But employment was still a challenge. Their location in Fort Lauderdale, Florida is currently open for dinner only and cannot be taken out or delivered.

“We protect the guest experience by not sitting too much,” he said. “We want them to understand that things are a little different than they were before the pandemic.”

Regardless of the destination, travelers should always call in advance and be ready to change their plans immediately.

Jamie Gobble was planning to fly from his home in Waco, Texas to Ohio and join his family at Cedar Point Amusement Park, where he will celebrate his nephew’s high school graduation for three days next week.

However, nine days before her flight, the park announced last week that it would be closed two days a week for most of the month due to staff shortages.

“Not only parks, but hotels,” she said. “So we were out of the place where we stayed. It’s all understandable, but we thought they understood things.”

Instead, they quickly changed their plans to go hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park on a roller coaster in Dollywood, Tennessee.


Associated Press writer David Koenig of Dallas, Wayne Parry of Belmar, NJ, and David Sharp of Portland, Maine contributed to this report.