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News | Wednesday, 09 September 2009

MHRA President warns “many hotels already planning to close this winter”

Charlot Zahra

Malta Hotels and Restaurants’ Association (MHRA) President Kevin de Cesare warned that the fuel increases announced by Enemalta last week will have disastrous consequences on the tourism industry in Malta, which is already facing the brunt of the global recession.
“These increases will add more pressure on hotels and restaurants, most of whom are unable to pass on any increases whatsoever to the consumer,” de Cesare said.
“We have warned the government of dire consequences to the industry if any more taxes or costs are added to our already high taxes.”
The latest increase in the price of Thin Fuel Oil (TFO), which is used in the tourism industry for heating, is an average of 40 euro cents per litre.
Asked about what kind of compensation could hoteliers and restaurant owners get in view of these price hikes, de Cesare explained how MHRA members “are competing internationally and government has to understand that every time there is a government-induced cost the industry suffers as it becomes less competitive.
“If the matter of competitiveness is not addressed, there will be reached a stage when the industry will start contracting,” the MHRA President told Business Today.
“We have had a weak 10 months with dropping occupancies with rates plummeting as much as 30 per cent in some instances,” he complained.
“We just cannot afford any increases of any kind during the next 12 months as many hotels are already planning to close this winter both in the north and the Sliema/St. Julian’s area,” de Cesare told Business Today.
“Any sort of new taxes will just see some of hotels over the edge and then we will see serious job losses.”

czahra@mediatoday.com.mt

 

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09 September 2009
ISSUE NO. 598

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Malta Today

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