Shanghai unveils measures to boost tourism industry
By Wang Siwen
Given low occupancies, hotels are looking for help filling rooms. Over the worst COVID outbreak in Shanghai, the hospitality industry has taken a hit. Revenues are down, even compared to last year.
Jerome Qiu, chief operating officer from IHG Greater China said: "Taking Intercontinental Hotels Group, for example, our revenue from available rooms in the first quarter in China, dropped by 42 percent compared with 2019, down 7 percent compared with last year."
The hotel industry has struggled and adjusted operations to reduce the impact of COVID-19.
Now city authorities are trying to help the sector stay afloat as well.
For the third consecutive year, Shanghai issued its annual "12 measures" to support the tourism industry. For 2022, these 12 measures will involve financial funding support and subsidies to reduce the financial burden put upon companies. The new measures include tax and fee reductions, job subsidies, disinfection subsidies, fixed cost subsidies and more.
"We are really happy to see those supporting policies, especially for hotel operation, the related subsidies, tax reductions, subsidies on disinfection, reduction on social insurance, and employees' training subsidies. It helps a lot on cash flow for the hotel operation," said Jerome Qiu.
Hotels are hoping the new measures will translate into better business over the coming weeks and months. And while it may be too soon to expect business at pre-pandemic levels, they feel certain the market for travel will return in full force.
While Jordi Pedro, the hotel manager from Artyzen Habitat Qiantan Shanghai, said: "There is a lot of uncertainty, but at the same time, there is a huge demand for travel. Business have to resume, people have to meet, people have to sign contracts, people have to reestablish their relationships and keep the business flowing, And leisure, I'm sure millions of people that are dying to come to the restaurant, to come to the bars, to stay in hotel and enjoy the experience that the hotel has to offer, and that should be the priority to generate value, to communicate what we can offer to attract people.”
Struggling to survive during the pandemic, hotels try to keep the lights on and draw back travelers.