QCOSTARICA – The tourism sector continues to recover slowly, while many companies struggle to see the light in an environment of uncertainty.
Hotel occupancy in January was barely 30%, when normally the figure is 70% for the month in high season, according to data from the Central Bank.
About this crisis and the solutions to overcome it, Alicia Repetto, Manager of Sales and Marketing of Casa Chameleon Hotels, spoke with La Republica.
Q: Is the recovery of the tourism sector going as expected?
A: I believe that the times we are living in are very uncertain and the projections change every day, we have never had a total closure of the tourism sector, we have never faced a pandemic.
It has been a learning experience for everyone at the business level, and strategies change every day, we now live in a constant variable.
The tourism sector is undoubtedly one of the most affected and is made up of different businesses, ranging from hotels to transportation, and each one needs different support focused on their needs. Recovery is not just about seeing planes arriving with tourists, there is an internal recovery of each company that needs government and economic support.
Q: How do you evaluate the role of the Government in this recovery?
A: I believe that there are many quick management actions that have taken too long to decide and that would greatly help the economic recovery of each company that makes up the sector.
This goes beyond salary suspensions and cuts in working hours, which is to put a “band-aid” on the problem that will have to be solved in the future. There should already be a plan to reduce taxes, basic services such as water and electricity, which are so expensive for tourist areas, employer charges, among others, as well as intervention with state and private banks to access loans or improvements conditions in existing ones, to be able to maintain open operations.
We must not lose sight of the fact that if companies cannot keep their operations running, they cannot keep their employees, it is a domino effect; The labor force in the tourism sector is very large where there are families in which the two supplier heads depend on their jobs in the tourism sector.
On the other hand, the new minister has brought hope with the short-term action plans and the effort at the country image level, which we all hope will continue to grow positively for each and every one of the companies and individuals that make up this sector.
Q: What are the obstacles you have faced to a more successful recovery?
A: At the sector level, as I mentioned earlier the lack of rapid management in basic decisions such as cuts in the already excessive prices of services and charges to operate, the Government should be avoided at all costs that companies close operations, help is needed in expenses higher operating rates and if a balance is not found, it is impossible that as a sector we can sustain ourselves.