"That is a drop that we haven't seen since we started tracking ...," said Jan Freitag, vice president of global development at Smith Travel, which started following the lodging pipeline in 2002.

The number of hotel projects under construction or in initial or final planning stages fell to 4,554 hotels in July. Smith Travel only includes hotels with 15 rooms or more in its analysis.

That drop is due to weakness in the hotel industry, which leaves banks and investors reticent to finance the building of a hotel, Freitag said.

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