Major companies are beginning to cancel conferences and travel plans within the United States due to the coronavirus, which analysts warn will have cascading impacts on the country’s hotels, airlines and convention centers.
International travel — particularly to Asia — has so far been the hardest-hit part of the industry, though analysts say that could soon change as fears of the coronavirus spread to Europe and North America. Hotels around the country have begun reporting a rise in group cancellations. Some air carriers, including Alaska Airlines and JetBlue Airways, are doing away with cancellation fees as jittery travelers rethink their plans.
“The cancellations are starting to move toward North America,” said Scott Solombrino, executive director of the Global Business Travel Association, which estimates that the slowdown in global travel has already cost American businesses $7 billion this year. “Obviously the concern is that this will have a long-term impact on the U.S. economy.”
Analysts said wide-scale cancellations — which so far have been concentrated in large cities such as New York, Washington and Los Angeles — are starting to hit smaller U.S. cities, as companies change their internal travel policies.
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