Coverage: The business news angles of the solar eclipse
A variety of business news organizations have published stories in the past few days examining different angles that the solar eclipse on Monday might have on the economy.
David Gernon of CNBC.com wrote that it’s a bonanza for hotels and airlines:
Many hotel chains, including Marriott International, are offering packages to travelers who are heading to cities in the path of the eclipse, which will follow a southeastern route from Oregon to South Carolina on Aug. 21.
Marriott, the world’s largest hotel chain by market cap, is highlighting five cities across the country for packages that include themed cocktails and complimentary viewing glasses.
The number of rooms booked in 16 locations in the path of the eclipse is up 60 percent compared to last year in those same locations, according to the company.
Hilton is another firm trying to entice customers with special offers. The company has more than 180 hotels in the portfolio in the “path of totality,” according to Joe Berger, an executive vice president. At one of those locations, which is not yet sold out, rates start at $425. For the previous week, the same room is available for $199.
Cities in the path of totality will be completely dark when the eclipse hits.
Reid Wilson of The Hill wrote about how visitors are flocking to remote areas of the country:
Tourists are already congregating in rural Oregon, where a 30-mile traffic jam snarled a two-lane highway north of Bend on Thursday. The state expects as many as a million tourists over the next few days — the equivalent of 25 percent of the entire state’s population.
Gov. Kate Brown (D) said earlier this month she would activate the Oregon Air and Army National Guard to help ease traffic congestion. Extra ambulances will be at the ready, and the state has opened its Emergency Coordination Center to handle the influx. Brown will host troops of Girl Scouts for a watch party at the state capitol in Salem.
“State agencies, along with our local, tribal and federal partners, have extensively planned and are well-coordinated to make the 2017 total solar eclipse a safe and memorable event,” Brown said.
Tennessee’s emergency operation center will open in Nashville on Sunday, the state Emergency Management Agency said. The state Department of Public Safety has been preparing local governments for months, said Maj. Matt Perry, who oversees the Nashville District for the Tennessee State Patrol.
Stacey Leasca of Forbes.com writes that a consulting firm estimates $700 million in lost productivity from the eclipse:
And because this ultra-rare celestial moment is happening on a work and school day we can count on thousands of people to take the day off, call in sick, or skip their regularly scheduled duties to watch the moon’s shadow block out the sun’s rays for a few minutes. And those minutes, when added up, will likely cost American businesses nearly $700 million in productivity, according to an estimate by outplacement company Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
In total, the company estimates that the U.S. economy will lose $694 million during the approximately 20-minute eclipse process. And that number, Andy Challenger, vice president at Challenger, Gray & Christmas, told Forbes via email, could be conservative.
“There’s very few people who are not going to walk outside when there’s a celestial wonder happening above their heads to go out and view it,” Challenger, told the New York Post.
To come to its economic conclusion, the Chicago-based firm found the most recent American Time Use Survey, which stated that 82.8% of employed people worked on an average weekday.