Western Region Hotel Association, Pokhara, has demanded the government to bring relief and revival programmes, including the hotel and overall tourism sector in the policy and programme and budget of coming fiscal year 2021/22 in priority.
Issuing a press release today, Association Chair Bikal Tulachan drew government’s attention to bring a special programme for the revival of the tourism sector, citing the tourism sector has now been mostly affected by COVID-19.
The press release mentioned that around 20 per cent entrepreneurs and 60 per cent employees have been displaced till the second wave of COVID-19, adding that tourism entrepreneurs did not get relief programme on time announced by the government last year.
The Association demanded arrangement of discount on VAT, income tax and other tax as well as fully exemption on fine to protect investment invested in tourism business.
Similarly, the statement demanded that the local government should provide discount on property tax and business as well as limit of refinancing should be widen from Rs 200 million as per the investment of hotel.
A separate employment protection fund and tourism development (hotel) fund has been demanded for the most-affected hotels.
The Association asked for the continuity of special refinancing for next two years as well as to make limit of special refinancing to Rs 100 million from Rs 50 million.
Other demands put forth by the Association are to make loan available at five percent, to make debtors already taking other soft loans entitled for this facility and not to calculate interest of loans taken under several headings for two years for the 'sustainability' of hotel business.
The Association has sought continuity of subsidies featured in the current monetary policy, implementation of provision relating to demand tariffs of electricity provided to industries, the hundred percent of exemption of demand tariffs for two years and fifty percent discount on electricity for industries
“Hotel industry has the investment of billions of rupees and a large score of people including workers and their families are dependent on this sector for livelihood, but their future seems uncertain for past years,’’ the statements reminds the government, warning that it could cause a huge and widespread economic loss if the news policies and programmes and the budget failed to accord priority to hotel and tourism sectors and protect them amidst the COVID-19-led crisis.
The Association has further called on the government to bear the contribution amount (to be paid by hotels) under workers’ social security scheme, ensure soft loan to those hotels being operated in rented infrastructure and to make sure that banks would not give pressure to hotels time and again to clear off dues and interest .
The Association wants the government to provide anti- COVID-19 vaccines to all the eligible citizens on time.