AUSTRALIA’S most popular hotel chain is poised to shed nearly all its U.S. staff as it struggles to compete with the arrival of more profitable foreign competition and a new wave of domestic demand for the hospitality industry.

The Australian Hotel and Lodging Association said Monday it would reduce its staff from about 1,400 to 1,150 by the end of the year.

The group said it had a plan to cut back by at least 80 per cent, while keeping about 1.5 million American employees in Australia.

The move comes amid signs that the U.K. and its biggest hotel operator, LTL Holdings, have seen their U.k. and European businesses hit by a surge in the number of new American guests.

LTL has said it expects more than 2 million Americans will visit its properties in 2019, but it has been criticized by American hoteliers and their supporters as an example of how the government and other institutions are too lenient on foreign competitors.

Australian hoteliers said they were concerned about the impact on their business, which is a major source of income for the industry.

The industry is already suffering from a sharp decline in business in the United States and Canada, as more Americans move to stay in hotels instead of living in cities.AUSTRALIAN SHOPPING TRADE COMMISSION REVISITS LTL’S FEDERAL CREDIT RATING, ANSWERS REQUESTING IT’S REPORTS IN BANKRUPTCYCLEDIA AND OTHER STORIESAUSTRIA IS AN EXPERT on consumer credit trends.

We don’t have a lot of data on consumer debt and how it affects the economy,” Andrew Gaffney, a credit expert at the University of Adelaide, said in an interview.

He added that it’s too early to tell if the current U.s. economic downturn will last beyond 2019.

That is dependent on how consumers and companies cope with the influx of foreign dollars into their finances.

A downturn in U. S. consumer spending in 2019 could also hurt Australia’s overall economic outlook, he said.”

If we continue to see that growth in U S. spending in the first quarter, and then in the second quarter, it could be very negative for Australia’s economy,” Gaffey said.AAP/ABC News