AHETA, Association of Hotels and Tourist Enterprises of the Algarve, considers that the measures announced by the government, within the scope of the new confinement, are inadequate, ineffective and insufficient
"The Government persists in continuing to ignore the specificity of tourism in general and in the Algarve in particular, taking measures that do not fit or meet the real needs of companies in the sector", accuses AHETA.
“The Government imposes, on the one hand, restrictive measures to the operation of hotels and tourist developments, such as the partial closure of restaurants and bars, forced to operate under a 'room service' regime, restrictions on the movement of people, etc. and, on the other hand, it continues to insist that the hotel and tourist companies started the progressive recovery in July / August of last year.
The simplified 'layoff', for example, is only applicable to companies forced to close due to legal imposition, leaving hotels at the margin of this support, inasmuch as they have enormous difficulties in proving the similar billing losses, since the comparative months registered very low revenues ”, affirm Algarve businessmen.
AHETA, in a statement sent to the newsrooms, adds that, “this context, send the most elementary rules of justice, common sense and public interest that the simplified layoff be immediately extended to the tourist accommodation sector, since the developments support, in the current framework, (Support for Progressive Resumption), an important part of workers' wages and 50% of TSU ”.
AHETA recalls that the tourist activity in the Algarve has been practically inactive since October 2019, that is, more than 15 months, going to remain for an uncertain period, but which we anticipate very long.
The measures now approved ”ignore the reality of hotels and tourism enterprises, since they do not allow the hotel and tourism sector access to the simplified 'layoff' and, therefore, to the suspension of employment contracts and exemption from the Single Social Fee ( TSU), forcing companies to eliminate jobs ”.
The Government considers that the most affected economic sector in the country is already in the recovery phase, relegating it to the exhausted Progressive Recovery Support Program (ARP), forgetting that, since we are in the middle of the low season, it is not possible to present reductions enough annual revenue to require the reduction of the Normal Working Period (PNT) to 100%, including the TSU exemption, preventing small and medium-sized companies from having access to these incentives, on the one hand, and large companies, on the other. with more than 250 workers.
Access to credit lines, on the other hand, is very conditioned by financial entities (Banks), faced with mandatory and very long moratorium on loans granted, as well as the high levels of indebtedness of tourist companies, prevented from realizing revenues. for lack of demand.
“And this is because hotel and tourism investments are characterized by being capital intensive and, therefore, of long-term profitability, being supported by foreign capital and other financing solutions, so the impact of the pandemic crisis on companies' treasury is far superior to other sectors of economic and business activity ”, explains the Algarve association.
For AHETA, the urgent and immediate need for direct and consistent financial support to the tourism business sector is at stake, embodied in non-repayable grants, both for the recapitalization of viable companies, converting debt into social capital, or through the injection of cash to strengthen the robustness of the cash flow of hotel and tourist companies.
“The Government cannot want to treat a chronic disease with aspirin. A serious and prolonged illness, like Covid-19, cannot be cured with short-term treatments. The government cannot continue to announce measures for three months when the problem, we all know, not only lasts for almost a year, but will continue for quite a long time, at least as far as the consequences of the pandemic are concerned.
Without this support, many companies will collapse and the rest will be too weak and fragile to respond to competitive challenges in the recovery phase, as they will find themselves without capital and have lost precious assets, such as qualified human resources, management know-how. , knowledge of tourist circuits, etc.
The support now announced by the government will not only not solve the problems of a sector plunged into a deep crisis, but will decisively contribute to further accentuate the existing weaknesses, reflecting on the increase in the number of insolvencies and unemployment ”, concludes the AHETA.