The French hotel group Accor has closed two thirds of its hotels and is dismissing or temporarily dismissing 75 percent of its employees.

The company is also canceling its planned dividend payment of EUR 280 million compared to the 2019 result due to the coronavirus crisis to save cash.

The company closes more than 3,000 of the group’s 5,000 hotels and temporarily dismisses more than 200,000 employees. His managing director Sebastien Bazin told Bloomberg Television that he intends to reopen all properties and to recruit employees as soon as possible.

“I don’t know how long the crisis will last, but I know you will see light at the end of the tunnel,” said Bazin.

“I plan to reopen each of them, I plan to hire every employee, and I just hope that people will come back on trips … by early this summer.”

The travel and tourism sector has been one of the sectors most affected by global restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Last month, the World Travel and Tourism Council announced that the outbreak would result in the loss of approximately 75 million jobs worldwide in this sector, and the loss of tourism revenue would mean that global GDP would increase by $ 2.1 trillion would be charged in 2020.

The biggest uncertainty for the company is how long a return to normality will take, Bazin said, but added that until Tuesday evening, only 10 percent of the company’s bookings for July and August were canceled.

“That doesn’t mean people will show up. It just means that people are and have to be as optimistic as I am.”

In China, 85 percent of the 25,000 employees in the hotels were at home two and a half weeks ago, but the same number is now back at work. Hotel occupancy is still low at 10 to 20 percent in many cities, but much higher in budget chains that rely on local Chinese customers (almost 60 percent).

The company provides 25 percent of the discarded dividend to help employees in financial difficulties, Bazin said. He added that the company had a strong balance sheet to deal with the crisis, with around EUR 2.5 billion in cash on the balance sheet and access to a line of finance of EUR 1.2 billion.

“From this minute on, I don’t plan to move on the line, we have no need for it,” he said.

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