The tourism industry has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, remaining closed for almost six months. Several representatives of the hotel and gastronomic guild gave the Senate Economics Committee the current situation, also delivering different proposals to achieve reactivation.
During the meeting of the Committee on the Economy last Wednesday, 2 September, eight representatives of the hotel and gastronomic industry released various proposals for reactivation.
The session was attended by the Under-Secretary of Tourism, Deputy Director of Budget and some industry representatives: Borderío, Fedetur, Hoteles Petra, Cámara Turismo Arica, Nahuelbuta Tourism Corporation, Chamber of Commerce Chillán y uble, Valle Las Trancas, Cámara Comercio Quillón and the Chilean Association of Gastronomy.
Ricardo Margulis, director of the Federation of Tourism Companies (Fedetur), was the first to present to the commission, making an economic comparison between 2019 and 2020. As detailed, us$4.5 billion vs. $9 billion in a normal year is expected this year. In addition, he added that the revival of the industry will be slow, and may take up to 32 months.
Eliminating VAT for domestic tourists, suspension of the payment of patents and contributions for 24 months and credits specially designed for the field, were some of the proposals shared by the representatives.
Andrea Oyarzun, representing the Middle Class Benefits movement for Garzones and Bartenders, made known the current situation of these workers. «We are too poor to access the benefits of the middle class, but we are very rich, with tips, for the social register of households.» Because of this, they are applying to be included in all middle-class benefits and have $350,000 monthly support as long as contracts are held suspended.
Promoting domestic demand-building travel was one of the proposals put forward by representatives and also noted by the Under-Secretary for Tourism, who noted that work was already under way on a plan to reactivate both national and international tourism.
The lack of money to implement the protocols, the conflicts that are lived in the Araucanía, losses due to the low percentage of capacity allowed in restaurants and the social outburst that was coming, are some of the problems that the industry currently has, which it fears having to close forever.
A three-step plan is presented by José Luis Uriarte, undersecretary of tourism, to the commission and its guests. This plan is divided into: Survival, Tuning, and Reopening. According to Uriarte, the Government will provide training and support for the digitization of companies, in order to facilitate the reactivation of the area.
Collecting the issues raised, developing a draft, presenting it to the Senate and then to the Executive, were the steps that will be taken as determined by the committee. Despite this, the suspension of payment of contributions and patents is expected to be a measure taken immediately by the Government.