COVID-19 pandemic

Hospitality industry in Punjab on verge of collapse, demands relief

Hospitality industry in Punjab on verge of collapse, demands relief

A deserted street lined up by hotels in Amritsar. Tribune photo

GS Paul

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 7

Amid the 21-day lockdown, the hospitality and tourism industry is facing a severe crisis like other sectors.

Experts believe that the distressed hospitality sector would have adverse implications, leading to loss in national exchequer, large-scale bankruptcy and unemployment.

Punjab Hotel and Resort Association president Satish Arora said though the hotel industry stood by the country under the prevailing circumstances, it was also a fact that around 5,000 small, medium and large hotels and restaurants, including national and international chains, had suffered a monthly loss of Rs 960 crore in the state.

“No basic economy can survive if the influx of foreign currency is hampered. The hospitality and tourism sectors not only attract foreign currency, but also generate employment opportunities. In Punjab, the livelihood of at least 3 lakh families is dependent on the hotel industry only,” he said.

Arora said the state government must waive the minimum power tariff and bar licence fee, which is otherwise paid in advance. “The salary bill of hotel and restaurant employees comes to around Rs 250 crore per month. Without any business, we have been directed to pay it,” he said.

APS Chatha, president of Amritsar Hotels and Restaurants Association, said except giving one-month grace period to pay the power bills, the government had not provided any other relief to them.

“The notice for furnishing the excise licence fee for 2020-2021 has already been received. It should rather be deferred for six months and the validity of the licence period be adjusted and carried forward till September 30, 2021. Similarly, the property tax and water charges from April 1 onwards should be waived for three years,” he said.

The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Northern India has also approached the CM to provide a financial package to the hospitality industry.

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