Wednesday 4 August 2021

Tourism sector depends on political will for recovery

Reactivation would only be possible if pending bills are successful, argues the ICT

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QCOSTARICA – The future of tourism operators in Costa Rica depends on the political will to approve a package of bills that favors the reactivation of these businesses in the short term.

Travel agencies, tour operators and transport operators with a high percentage of closures

At least that is how the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT) – Costa Rican Tourism Board sees it, which appeals to the commitment of legislators to approve the bills.

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This after recognizing that the work carried out in the recovery of the airlines, in training thousands of people in sanitary protocols and in developing strategies to increase visits in sites that reopened, has not generated the expected result and international arrivals do not reach the prepandemic levels.

“The ICT makes a respectful call to the Legislative Assembly, which is the forum where the economic reactivation bills proposed by the Government and by legislators for the rescue of tourist operators are presented […]. Once again we call on the banking sector to expand their support with fresh loans to the tourism industry with a new look,” declared Gustavo Segura, Minister of Tourism.

Segura refers to the approval of the ey de Creación del Fondo Nacional de Avales y Garantías (Law for the Creation of the National Endorsement and Guarantees Fund), which has already been approved by the Treasury Commission; to the law to attract remote workers, known as digital nomads; to the Law of Attraction of Film Investments and the Law for the Attraction of Investors, Rentiers and Pensioners, which awaits second debate in Congress.

In the case of the Guarantee Fund, it would allow injecting capital to companies that are in debt and that cannot open or maintain an operation with the current flows of visitors.

Fresh resources with special banking conditions is what is most urgent among businessmen, as stated this week by the Costa Rican Association of Travel Agencies, the Costa Rican Association of Tourism Operators and the Association of Tourism Transporters. This clamor was expressed in previous weeks by the Chamber of Hotels and the National Chamber of Tourism.

The organizations are requesting measures such as the readjustment of financial operations and moratoriums of at least 12 more months, and others that allow them to have greater liquidity and financial capacity to be able to reopen and sustain themselves.

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Additionally, they request the extension of moratoriums in the payment of public services such as water, electricity, telephone; of the payment of municipal taxes and licenses and of social charges.

The call is made before the closure of 451 companies between travel agencies and tour operators since the beginning of the pandemic, and a cut of up to 8 thousand direct jobs, resulting in that many of these companies are now sole proprietorships.

A similar crisis is being experienced in the transporters union, with the loss of 7,400 jobs, which represents 67% of the collaborators in this subsector before the pandemic.

Unsustainable crisis. The subsectors that depend on tourism feel abandoned by the Government, which appeals, for its part, to prosper bills to reactivate the industry.

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