Accor S.A., the largest hospitality company in Europe and parent company of brands including Fairmont, Sofitel and Pullman, has announced that it has cut 800 jobs and temporarily closed 135 hotels in the Middle East and Africa.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Accor MEA CEO Mark Willis said that the group, which operates in 100 countries, has temporarily closed 3,000 hotels globally as a result of the pandemic.

Accor S.A., which has more than 4,800 hotels and 280,000 employees worldwide, has had to take aggressive measures that have included a travel ban, hiring freeze, reduced schedules and /or furloughing for 75 per cent of global head office teams for the second quarter of this year.

The downward trend is not exclusive to Accor. Occupancy rates across all hotel rooms in the Middle East have dipped by 16.7 per cent year-on-year – from 71 per cent to 59 per cent – with Revenue per available room (RevPAR) falling to US$80.

However, Willis highlighted the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia as three countries that are starting to see signs of recovery, as containment measures ease. With some hotels allowed to open with a 30 per cent occupancy rate, destinations in the UAE began to see signs of recovery, aided by the Eid al-Fitr long weekend.

In Fujairah and Ajman, two emirates within the UAE, Accor hotels have been full according to a reduced capacity level, said Willis.

In Egypt, 70 hotels received the health safety certificate required for reopening at 25 per cent occupancy, expected to rise to 50 per cent in June.

Saudi Arabia became one of the first destinations to adopt a global safety stamp protocol pioneered by The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), allowing businesses such as hotels, restaurants and airlines to use the stamp once expected safety and hygiene measures had been achieved.