Like other countries in the world, coronavirus has created a deep crisis in the star hotel sector in Bangladesh with its potential and fast growing tourist hotels. As a result, a loss of Tk 1,500 crore has already been incurred in this sector. If this stalemate continues, the amount of loss in the current month of July may stand at four thousand crore rupees. Entrepreneurs in the sector are worried. The Bangladesh International Hotel Association (BIHA), an organization of five-star hotels of international standard, has demanded the government to provide Tk 3,000 crore incentives to protect the sector like other sectors. The organization recently made the demand in a letter to the Prime Minister. BIHA President HM Hakim Ali confirmed the matter.
The letter said the sector’s contribution to GDP was 4.4 per cent, which the organization was working to help the government move quickly to double digits (10%). But the coronavirus effect has reduced the number of guests in most hotels from 2 to 3 percent. This is the lowest in memory. In addition, several hotels have already declared their operations closed indefinitely due to inability to meet operating expenses. Many officials and employees have lost their jobs due to this unexpected financial crisis. One lakh people have lost their jobs in only two to five star quality hotels and restaurants.
Asking the Prime Minister to intervene in the situation, HM Hakim Ali told Kaler Kantha, “We have written a letter demanding four points to save the country’s hotel and tourism industry like the garment industry.” Besides, I have asked for an interest free loan of Tk 3,000 crore for the next three years. I urge the Prime Minister to allocate Rs 500 crore for campaigning in foreign media once the Corona crisis is over. We also demand the waiver of income tax for the next two years, including the waiver of the Coronation Service Bill. ‘
In a letter to the Prime Minister, it was said that the existing loan dividend / interest against international standard residential hotels and other hotels in the country is waived from March 2020 to December next year. To fix the repayment period for the next three years with a grace period of two years from the date of disbursement and disbursement of the loan. Arrangements have been made to waive all utility bills of electric / WASA and gas bills of residential hotels from March 2020 to December 2020.
When asked, Westin Hotel Dhaka Director (Administration) Mohammad Abdul Motaleb told Kaler Kanth, “Our hotel has not been fully operational as international flights have not been fully operational.” Conference rooms are closed due to virtual meetings and seminars. About 600 employees work in our hotel. Of these, 150 are on a daily basis. Although no one has been left out for the organization, at least 100 of those 150 employees are not coming to work. Costs have been cut to survive. The company is paying the employees as a subsidy.
A senior official at Hotel InterContinental said they had no guests at the hotel. Even if one or two guests come every day on special offer, they leave the next day. In this situation, even though the permanent workers get salary and allowance, most of the daily workers do not come to work. These workers are spending miserable days in financial difficulties. Hopefully, Hotel InterContinental has recently received an order for a family event in the last three months.
According to the data, Corona’s influence in the hotel sector started from last January. And unannounced lockdown has been going on in the country since March 26. As a result, the people involved in this sector are in uncertainty. Where each five-star hotel earned five to six crore rupees a month; There is now a loss of five to six crore rupees per month.
According to BIHA sources, most of the foreign guests in Bangladesh come from China, Japan, India, France, Denmark and Sri Lanka. Normally, at this time of the year, more than 60 percent of the rooms have guests, but now it has come down to 2 percent due to the effect of corona. In this situation, 500 hotels including 44 star hotels which are members of BIH have suffered a loss of Tk 4,000 crore.