Millennium & Copthorne Hotels slashing more than 900 jobs due to Covid-19 crunch

Major New Zealand hotel chain Millennium & Copthorne Hotels is slashing its workforce due to Covid-19's crushing impact on tourism.

The Grand Millennium Hotel in Auckland. Source: Millennium & Copthorne Hotels

In its annual shareholder meeting today, meeting chairman Graham McKenzie revealed more than 70 per cent of the company's 1300-strong workforce has been affected by Covid-19 - around 910 people.

This year will be "the most challenging year that MCK has ever faced in its history", Mr McKenzie says.

"None of us have ever experienced a crisis of this nature."

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The number of people staying in its hotels plummeted during lockdown, with the occupancy rate dropping from 91 per cent in March 2019 to 53.2 per cent this March.

It was even harder during April, dropping from 83.7 per cent in 2019 to just 1.5 per cent this year.

"We have lost and will be losing many long-serving and very loyal employees as a direct result of this crisis," Mr McKenzie says.

"We are sorry to see them go and hopefully we will see some of them again when tourism gets back to more normal levels." 

The company received the 12-week wage subsidy for its employees.

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The support may help them survive the worst of the Covid-19 slowdown. Source: 1 NEWS

Half of the hotels' came from overseas tourists and the continued border closures will have a "huge impact", Mr McKenzie says.

"There will not be a sudden recovery. Flights will resume slowly and international visitors will be understandably cautious. Even a Trans-Tasman bubble will be some time away."

Around 20 hotels are run by the chain around New Zealand, which are expected to make a loss this year.

However the chairman says the overall company is still expected to make a profit.