Re-Open Hotel & Restaurants To Save Hospitality Industry, Employment & Tourism Of Pakistan

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A petition to Prime Minister Pakistan Imran Khan,

Re: COVID-19 & Locked down impact on Hotels & Restaurants Industry of Pakistan

Dear Prime Minister Pakistan Imran Khan,

Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown has had a disastrous impact on the hospitality industry in Pakistan. Govt support needed for hospitality sector to survive, millions of jobs are at stake and the small boutique hotels on rental or lease are at the brink of closing down for good.

According to the World Bank, "The initial assessment fears that KP’s tourism sector alone will face a loss of $20 million in revenues and could slash around 260,000 formal jobs". 

Kiran Afzal Private Sector Development Specialist of World Bank published a report on how "COVID-19 delays activities of Pakistan's domestic tourism industry" detailed WB report is available on the following link for your information

https://blogs.worldbank.org/endpovertyinsouthasia/covid-19-delays-activities-pakistans-domestic-tourism-industry

At present the hospitality industry in Pakistan is operating at 5-10 per cent occupancy and losses are mounting. It is expected that there will be a 30-50 per cent decline in revenue per available room (RevPARs) during FY2021. 

On the airlines side, IATA predicts that passenger traffic recovery to pre-COVID levels will happen only by 2025 and in the meanwhile, airlines capacity reduction and/or failures will result in reduction in demand for the hotel industry in Pakistan.

Dinshaw B. Avari owner of Avari Hotels in Pakistan, shared his professional insight and analysis of how "Covid-19 impacted Pakistan’s hotel industry" details are available on the following link for your information

https://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/96698/how-has-covid-19-impacted-pakistans-hotel-industry/

The Tourism Sector is in the third month of complete shut-down. Entire country lockdowns, border closures, travel restrictions, suspensions of almost all passenger flights, closed hotels and restaurants have resulted in an unprecedented crisis in the hospitality sector with irrecoverable losses to revenues and millions of jobs losses in Pakistan.

Here are some suggestions for the Federal and Provincial Government to consider to support the hotels and restaurants to save hospitality business and millions of jobs:

  • Design and direct financial support (short and long term) towards the tourism value chains including the micro-enterprises
  • 20,000 plus small boutique hotels on tourism spots in KPK are expected to go out of business if locked down continues during this summer season 2020, GST, Bed Tax and Income tax need to be waived off for 2 years (till December 2022) to support KPK tourism hotels and re-open KPK Tourism hotels & restaurants from June 2020 onwards
  • Industrial incentives for local and foreign investments to be offered in KPK along CPEC route to encourage investment by offering income tax exemptions for minimum of five years

  •  

    Interest free loans to be offered through Bank of Khyber (BOK), without collateral / guarantees up to 10 millions of loan amount for each applicant with a viable business plan and financial projections
  • Encourage public private partnership with incentives to participate in National & International expos to promote tourism KPK / Pakistan
  • Design, plan and enforce on-site measures for better waste collection, plastics recycling, and traffic management to encourage hygiene and tourism environment in KPK 
  • Guide and support restaurants, hotels, and transporters to disinfect, upgrade facilities and train workers to adopt improved hygiene, sanitize and safety practices to improve safe and quality standards

    Three months of locked down has had devastated impact on the psychological health of Pakistanis across the country.
  • By re-opening hotels and restaurant industry in tourism spots KPK (Hazara region) and across the Pakistan will provide avenues to general public to unwind their mental health, enjoy the nature and relax their stressful minds to be in a happy mode.
  • In addition, saving millions of jobs in the hospitality industry means less anxiety, frustration and depression in general public which could lead towards social, civil unrest, crimes and poverty could spark road demonstrations against the federal and provincial govt to tarnish the soft image of Pakistan and tourism across the world.

Leading hotel chain in Pakistan had laid off over 600 employees and similar number of employees are waiting in line to be laid off next month.

80% of hospitality industry market share owned by the Independent boutique hotels and restaurant in Pakistan. Millions of employees are attached with independent hotels and restaurants. Few large hotel chains will survive locked down for a month or two however 80% boutique hotels and independent restaurants will closed down forever so as millions of employees will loose jobs for good if locked down continues from June 2020 onwards.

We hope through this online petition our PM Imran Khan will understand the urgency and gravity of the hospitality industry and the impact it had so far on the human lives, hotels / restaurants and tourism to promote the positive image of Pakistan. The severity of hospitality business impacted by locked down and COVID pandemic calls for an immediate actions taken to re-open and restore hotel and restaurant industry in Pakistan.

Aamir Khawaja,

CEO,

Ittehad Hotels, Abbottabad.