The government aid programme for the tourism industry will cover only about 40% of the losses that restaurateurs and hoteliers will suffer as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
This is the assessment of Georgi Genov, director of the association hotel and tourism enterprises, HORES, who added that that sector was the most affected by the epidemic and needed further help.
Genov also adds that the 5-billion-euro-economic-aid programme is a positive development, but that the hospitality and catering sectors are specific sectors and the current situation requires a full analysis of the problem.
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“If a proper analysis is not conducted, we won’t be able to find the right measures to help the hotel industry. We have invited all hoteliers and caterers to provide us with information on the number of employees and cancellations of reservations until July, and in a few days, we will have the exact picture of the situation that we will present to the government of Serbia,” says Genov.
He also points out that the hotel and restaurant owners were the first to be affected by the epidemic and that about 2 million overnight stays will be cancelled by July 1, while the crisis in that sector will last until the end of the year.
“A large number of hotels during the winter season had no guests; only the hotels in the mountains had a good season. Moreover, the restaurants are closed and the question is how аnd when they will continue to work,” Genov added.
The biggest problem for restaurateurs and hoteliers is how to save jobs and not lay off workers whose average wage is around 310 euro.
“The minimum wage assistance measure will partly cover the costs,” said Genov, noting that another major problem for restaurateurs and hoteliers is the payment of interest on investments, as a large number of hoteliers and restaurateurs have invested heavily in their activities in an effort to provide top quality service in recent years.
“For example, investments in hotels range from 70,000 to 350,000 euro per room and 1,500 to 5,000 euro for restaurants. In the year that was expected to be the best year for tourism since 1989, there is now the problem of how to repay those loans,” he goes on to say.
However, Genov welcomed the tax deferral measure and added that HORES had previously suggested that hoteliers and caterers should be exempt from paying property tax, which according to him, is very high.
The association also proposes a rescheduling of payment of gas and electricity bills to public enterprises such as Srbijagas and Elektroprivreda Srbije, since restaurants and most hotels are now closed.
This post is also available in: Italiano