Millennium & Copthorne Hotels cuts hundreds of jobs during COVID-19 pandemic

One of the country's largest hotel chains, Millennium & Copthorne Hotels, has cut hundreds of staff in the wake of COVID-19.

At its annual shareholder meeting today, chair Graham McKenzie said more than 1300 employees worked for them before the pandemic.

The company had been forced to make decisions that affected more than 70 percent of its employees, he said.

"We have lost and will be losing many long-serving and very loyal employees as a direct result of this crisis. We are sorry to see them go and hopefully we will see some of them again when tourism gets back to more normal levels."

It was off the back of their best year in the company's history in 2019, with more than $229.7 million in group revenue.

McKenzie said they were now facing their most challenging year ever.

International visitors accounted for about half of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels' business.

The occupancy rate during April dropped from 83.7 percent in 2019 to 1.5 percent this year.

"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," McKenzie said.