The present coronavirus situation cannot be sustained indefinitely, as the majority of Gozo businesses cannot survive in the current circumstances beyond December 2020, said the Gozo Tourism Association, GTA.
The main concerns of these establishments are the lack of revenue, the employee costs, Vat and Tax payments, utility payments and the COVID-19 restrictions.
During these last days the Gozo Tourism Association conducted an online survey amongst its members to understand better the sustained effects brought about by COVID-19 on the Gozitan tourism sector.
Through the findings of this survey, the Association said it will review which measures are deemed to be more effective for the Gozitan tourism establishments and assist in mitigating the impact of the pandemic on the tourism sector.
The categories that filled in the survey were coming from;
- Diving Centres
- Tourist Attractions
- Tour operators
- Travel Agencies
- Real Estate
- Tourism Consultancy firms
All the establishments reported less revenue on previous year and the majority of respondents stated that their revenue was between 55% to 65% less than 2019.
80% of the respondents declared that they did not affect any redundancies amongst their work force, even though several sectors were closed or not operating. However, if the situation remains unchanged, 18% reported that they will start effecting laying off employees, while 35% will carry on with their respective operation, and a further 14% will contemplate to close down their establishments.
The GTA said that other respondents will be taking future decisions on a day by day basis while a 10% envisage a change in the services they are presently offering.
On the other hand, 32% of those who filled the survey declared that they have engaged new employees after May 2020.
Furthermore 75 % of those who filled in the survey stated that the government aid was a very good leverage for the operation of their establishment. Yet if the current situation prevails beyond December 2020, they perceive redundancies from their respective establishments.
Other questions in this survey covered the issue of rent. 57% of respondents declared that they operate from their own premises, while 43% are operating from rented premises. Of those operating from rented premises, 44% perceive the Government grant of €2500 as satisfactory, while 56% said it was not sufficient. 87% of the respondents stated that without the Government financial support they cannot operate beyond September 2020.
The tourism operators were also asked about the vouchers that were distributed by Government as from July.
The majority of respondents, 86%, are in fact accepting these vouchers. Only 21% of respondents answered that payments by vouchers was between 50% and 75% of their revenue, while 23% confirmed the bracket of 25% to 49% as revenue payments by vouchers. The remaining respondents 56% declared that their revenue represented between 10% to 24% of their revenue.
The Gozo Tourism Association said that the findings of this survey will be included in a report which it is compiling and which eventually will be presented to the respective Authorities.