Resorts and Hotels expect support from budget
July 15, 2020 5:49 am
The Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association is hoping the new budget will provide some relief support for operators to minimize the impacts of COVID-19.
Association Chief Executive Fantasha Lockington says the past three months have been devastating, forcing operators to make tough decisions.
Lockington says members of the Association hope the budget will address three key areas and reduce expenses.
She says the tourism industry has been the worst affected by COVID-19 and operators believe cutting costs will help improve their packages.
“Some of this is obviously what we are going to be looking forward to is some relief form on import duties and taxes, this will allow tourism businesses to offer more value for money in terms of what they can do so they can reduce their cost if the import duties on some of this item is what they rely on and they can provide packaging options”.
Lockington also says there is a need for a mechanism for hotels and resorts to be rewarded for responsible behavior.
“Number two anything that will support behavioral changes when it comes to looking after the environment for instance, if you pay ECAL as a levy and you can get some sort of credit back because you have invested in some equipment or program or project that reduces your carbon footprint, I think this will be a plus for Fiji generally.”
Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has assured that the budget will address some of these needs however, operators must first take responsibility.
“If we for example get rid of the taxes for a minute if you think about it, if we get rid of the taxes but the pricing structure of FND for example rooms main remain the same then you are still going to be competitive enough, there needs to be some form of incentives for the hotel industry to look at their actual pricing structures itself apart from taxes”.
Tourism operators also say they are ready to invest more, if there are supportive policies announced on Friday night.