ADDIS ABEBA – Ethiopian hotel businesses expect “positive response” for their debt relief request after coronavirus hit the hospitality sector hard.
President of Ethiopian Hotel Professionals Association and hospitality sector consultant, Lulesseged Messele told The Daily Monitor that the impact of the virus has put “hotels out of business” and “operation is already at a standstill”.
Travel restrictions, flight suspension, rules related to social distancing and lockdown directives and the recently imposed nationwide state of emergency are having a major impact on the sector.
After heeding the government’s advice, he said the majority of hotels are keeping their staff on payroll.
Both hotels and tour operators’ associations have now appealed to the Prime minster Abiy’s Administration to ease financial burden through debt relief and delaying the payment of installments on loans.
“We hope to hear a positive response from the government this week,” Lulesseged said.
“We are okay to play the social responsibility role that is expected from us and share the burden,” he said.
“The government should also take some of the risks the hospitality sector face in this challenging time,” the president added.
Lulesseged further said the country needs to prepare a recovery plan for the industry once this pandemic is over.
The sector may need a-year-long support from the government, according to him.
There are more than 400 star-rated hotels in Ethiopia. Officials admitted the coronavirus has affected the service sector dearly.
Last week, Ethiopia’s Job Creation Commission projected over two million Ethiopians could lose their job within three months due to the impact of coronavirus.
Of the 2 million jobs, over 300,000 could be from the service sector.
By Sisay Sahlu
Image: Several hotels including the Skylight Hotel [seen above] are being used as quarantine centers for travelers coming into the country