With empty rooms, rising costs, hotels beg govt to provide relief; seek waivers to cushion coronavirus blow

By: |
March 19, 2020 6:16 PM

As coronavirus continues its onslaught on the travel and tourism industry, a hotel body has sought aid from the government to survive the outbreak.

Coronavirus, Coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19, US presidential campaign, US stocks, Nancy Pelosi, Trump administration, EU(Reuters photo)

As coronavirus continues its onslaught on the travel and tourism industry, a hotel body has sought aid from the government to survive the outbreak. Seeking a complete GST holiday, among other pleas, the Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) recently wrote to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Almost all tourism verticals have been severely impacted by the crises, however, it is hospitality industry that has been hit the most. Our members have reported cancellations reaching a critical stage of 90%,” Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, Vice President, FHRAI, said in a statement on Thursday. 

As the forward bookings are also negligible, hotels and restaurants are facing a “catastrophic situation with revenues plunging drastically,” FHRAI added. To that extent, the industry has put forward five requests to the government. This includes a GST holiday for six months from both State and Central Govt, deferment for fiscal statutory compliance deadlines such as payment of direct and indirect taxes, deferment for repayment of loans, bank EMIs, etc. for a period of six months, an interest rate cut by almost 200 basis points and relief in electricity bills either as waiver or subsidy of FAC charges, and electricity duty. The industry body said that the government intervention will cushion the blow to the industry. 

“The working capital is draining rapidly which is hit by almost 90% for both larger establishments and budget hotels and restaurants. Paying taxes including advance tax and GST is now straining the liquidity and is making it extremely difficult to manage day to day operations,” Pradeep Shetty, Joint Honorary Secretary, FHRAI, said in the statement. The restaurant industry is also looking to close down outlets for the time being and a massive revenue loss is expected due to the same. 

Meanwhile, India has reported its fourth death from the coronavirus and the cases have climbed to 173. China, which is the epicenter of the outbreak, has not reported fresh cases on Thursday. 

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