Serbia disappoints the tourism sector

, News

Our business is at zero, the costs are huge, the perspective is gloomy and the support of the state is non-existent – that is the joint assessment of most hoteliers and caterers after it was announced that the sector will be provided with somewhat more favorable lending conditions from the Development Fund.
At the beginning of the pandemic, it was common ground that the biggest burden would be borne by the tourism sector, catering, hoteliers, passenger transport and agencies. It was expected that the state would come out with measures to support the entire branch.
– The most significant measure would be the reduction or abolition of VAT on food and beverages in order to lower prices in restaurants and make services more accessible to the average guest. Most European countries have done just that, and the example of Ireland, which completely abolished that tax for a year, is often cited. The caterers also demanded that the provisions that apply to hiring seasonal labor in agriculture be applied to them. This would enable employers to hire workers more flexibly, because they expect that capacity utilization will vary in the coming period. They did not receive the expected rescheduling of obligations to public companies and the budget, nor the extended measure of payment of the minimum for those who can use it to overcome the period of uncertainty – say the Association of Hoteliers and Caterers Hores and emphasize that the main shortcoming of the measures is that they are not made.
In Hores, they also say that the announced favorable loans for liquidity are valuable help, because most of them will be able to pay the bills and taxes that accumulated during the three-month standstill with that money.
Hoteliers agree that this should not be the purpose of the loan.
Loans are taken when there are investments, and now they certainly will not be.
Hotel and restaurant owners also explain that it would make sense provided there is work to be done, but not in this situation when capacity utilization is measured in single digits. No matter how favorable the loan is, it is a debt that will have to be repaid, and no employer in that sector can finance the costs and salaries of employees from the loan.
That is why the largest city hotels, where up to 80 percent of guests were from abroad, are now laying off workers, remaining with a third because they are mostly large companies that could not use other types of support from the state treasury, such as the minimum for employees.
For now, hotels in larger tourist centers are refraining from that step, expecting that maybe the summer will bring them a few more guests who would opt for a vacation in the country this time.
However, even that space is not too big, because hotels in Serbia were built mostly as business, with four or five stars and are not accessible to the average Serbian tourist.
In addition, most employers are worried about the announced second wave of the epidemic and fear that even if the mess is completely full during the few hot months, they will not be able to cover the loss during the spring, and even less if a similar situation occurs in autumn or winter.
They estimate that because of that, many hotels and restaurants will have to close, so the employees will have the hardest time.
The measures presented as assistance to the sector are not satisfied even in the group of companies that deal with passenger transport. They say they expected much more because they suffered heavy losses.
– We were banned from working and that is why we expected the state to bear part of the burden and costs that are created even when the company is not working. We were running out of insurance, and other expenses were accumulating when the buses were not running. As a branch, we received the least, and we cannot compare ourselves with pharmacies, stores and some other activities where the turnover has increased. And now that we have launched, we are exposed to some kind of negative campaign through the media that scares our passengers, warning them that the greatest risk of infection is in transportation. That is not true, people in buses wear masks and gloves more than when they enter a store, bank or in front of a counter – Dusan Miletic, director of the Paracin company Euroline, told Danas.

error: Content is protected !!