Hotels’ body writes to PM seeking support amid Covid crisis

The Hotel Association of India (HAI) has written to the Prime Minister, appealing for immediate intervention to provide support to the hospitality sector, crippled again by the second wave of Covid-19 and the resultant lockdowns.

In its letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the industry body has sought one-time settlement of loans and extension of loan moratoriums till September 2021, and waiver of all statutory liabilities at Centre, state and municipal levels for the pandemic period.

It has also sought stimulus package for subsidising salaries of hotel employees, and according “infrastructure status” for the sector. The HAI has also urged the government tourism and hospitality to the concurrent list of the Constitution.

The HAI, in its appeal, highlighted that more than 40 per cent of hotels have shut or are on the brink of closure and 70 per cent of overall jobs are now in danger directly or indirectly. Hospitality industry remains one of the most impacted sectors in the country and continues to struggle due to Covid restrictions and absence of financial reliefs from the government, it said.

In its representation to the PM, the HAI has strongly urged the government to consider one-time settlement of loans and extension of loan moratoriums till September 2021, pointing out that the increasing loan burden at a time of almost non-existent income may serve only to increase the NPAs of banks and a moratorium will provide a breathing space to the already crippled industry.

The industry body also recommended creating a consultative mechanism like a task force of the government and industry representatives which will help in pragmatic policy formulation and bring the true spirit of public-private partnership.

“The potential shock to livelihood of millions working in the hospitality industry is enormous. The Indian hospitality sector has a critical role to play in the post pandemic economic revival and has been announced as the fourth pillar of the Indian economy,” said the HAI statement.

HAI urged the PM’s “bold intervention” and directions for implementation of the suggestions to save the industry, jobs and the lives and livelihoods of the citizens employed in hotels and to enable the industry to get on its feet so that it can make its contribution to the national economy.