Hoteliers call for tax reliefs to cope with Covid effects
As the tourism sector continues to bear the brunt of Covid-19, hoteliers at the Coast have appealed to the government for tax reliefs to cushion them from tough operation costs.
The players, who say they are struggling to keep their businesses afloat, noted that harmonisation of taxes and levies on both the county and national government will attract more domestic tourists and create more jobs in the sector.
Led by Sam Ikwaye, Executive Director at the Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers, the operators said Covid-19 restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the disease is hurting the sector.
The shrink in business due to the start of tourism low season in Kenyan Coast, which starts in months of April to July has forced them to scale down operations, leading to job losses while others have put their staff on rotational shifts.
“Few hotels had recalled their staff for Easter, but then because on the recent health measures majority of them will have to go back home, because we are also going against the wind with low season also knocking, business is low,” said Ikwaye.
Ikwaye says a majority of establishments have suffered huge losses owing to last minute cancellation of Easter bookings orchestrated by Covid-19 restrictions in five counties.
Situation has been worsened by the recent ban on conferences and workshops, which have been the main backbone of the sector. About 7,000 employees in tours and travel, hospitality industries at the Coast are jobless, and the situation is likely to worsen if the protocols are prolonged.
The operators are now calling on the government to give some tax reliefs that would ensure they are not overburdened by the biting shortage of guests.
Barari Beach Resort in Mombasa is among the hotels worst hit by tourist drought with 90 per cent of its Easter bookings having been cancelled.
Hotels have revised tariffs of between 10 and 20 per cent as to attract the little guests available. According to the hotel operations manager Godfrey Juma, the facility has been forced to put its staff on shifts owing to the sharp decline of guests.
The hotel that majorly depends on German tourists has so not received any foreign tourists so far with only few domestic clients available, signaling the worst situation ever. Tourist establishments at the coastal region registered one of the worst dry spells during this year’s Easter, after holiday makers stayed away from the renown tourist destination.
“We normally depend on conferences, foreign and domestic tourists, especially from Nairobi to boost our business but this time with the lockdowns restrictions, we are operating below 10 per cent.
In fact we have zero international guests, this is the worst situation ever to hit us hard,” Juma told People Daily.
At Flamingo for Pride Inn Beach resort, the hotel is registering below 10 per cent guests. The hotel has lowered its tariffs while some of its staff have been put on rotational shifts.
- Unlike other Easter holidays filled with fanfare, this year’s was dull with revellers opting to stay indoors. The situation worsened by closure of beaches.
- Hotels in North Coast, parts of Watamu and Malindi are also worst hit as majority depend on Italian Market, which has recently witnessed fall in international travels.
Original Source Website: : https://www.pd.co.ke/news/hoteliers-call-for-tax-reliefs-to-cope-with-covid-effects-71569/