Beleaguered hotel industry seeks bailout balm from Telangana government

Representatives of HRATS holding discussions with the Tourisim Minister V Srinivas Goud in Hyderabad (File picture)
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Representatives of HRATS holding discussions with the Tourisim Minister V Srinivas Goud in Hyderabad (File picture)

Highlights

  • The worried industry is still in doldrums, despite gradual easing of restrictions from June end
  • Revenues of the hotel industry have been badly affected almost for five and a half months from March last week till now

Hyderabad: In Unlock 1.0 soon after lifting of lockdown, the hotel industry expected to bounce back as their business was affected for nearly two and a half months starting from March third week till the first week of June. However, the last three months has been a tough going for them.

Despite the hotel industry taking all necessary precautions and following SoPs to ensure safety of customers and its staff, people are still yet to come out of fear of Corona, and hence the footfall is very limited. Also, the government's restrictions on functioning of bars in these star hotels and permission to only hold weddings with guests number not exceeding 50 and no other meetings to be allowed have not helped the situation either.

Hence, revenues to the hotel industry have been badly affected almost for five and a half months from March last week till now. It is in this backdrop, the national association representing all states has reached out to the Centre to offer a stimulus package. Even Union Minister of State for Tourism Prahlad Singh Patel and Tourism Secretary wrote letters to Chief Secretaries of all States to take required steps to bail out the hotel industry.

The Hotels and Restaurants Association for Telangana State (HRATS) that has all-star hotels in the State as its members took up this issue here. According to Ashok Hemrajani, HRATS president, the plight of star hotels in Telangana has been brought to the notice of Ministers KT Rama Rao, V Srinivas Goud and Tourism Secretary KS Sreenivasa Raju in the past few weeks.

He said that they sought support from the government in terms of sops, subsidies, incentive related benefits, and relief from the State government. They put forward four issues relating to bar and trade license fees, property tax, and electricity charges, which he said were very reasonable.

"We are trying to meet Chief Secretary on this issue in the next few days. Hopefully, the State government will come to the rescue of the hotel industry here," Ashok Hemrajani said. Further, he stated that the hotel industry is hoping for further relaxations to be announced in Unlock 4.0 from September 1 like allowing the opening of bars, lifting of restrictions on functions in banquet halls which is now limited to under 50 guests and that too only for weddings.

HRATS appeal to the State government

Municipal Trade licence Fee: Extension of the license period by the number of days of closure due to lockdown and to put in abeyance, the proposed removal of Rs. 2.5 lakh cap per annum, which has led to an increase by five to six times for certain hotels and also request for deferment of payment deadline date by six months without penalty

Property Tax: Request for extension of the validity of property tax payment period by the number of days of lockdown and deferment of payment scheduled payment date from June 30 to Sept.30 without any interest or penalty

Relief on Electricity Charges: Request for a subsidy by way of reduction of the electricity tariff for 2020-21 and for waiver of contracted minimum Demand Charges, for the lockdown period with a deferment of the scheduled respective payout dates for six months

Bar Licence Tax Fee: Request for refund of the bar license fee for the number of days of closure of our bars due to lockdown on pro-rata basis for the excise year of 2019-20, which has already been prepaid by all hotels or request to extend bar license period of 2019-20 by the number of days of closure of the bar

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