Measures taken to keep hotels afloat in lockdown

Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association CEO Fantasha Lockington. Picture: ABISHEK CHAND/FILE

The Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association had to undertake a number of measures to ensure hotels around the country stayed afloat during the lockdown.

During a media session on Monday, FHTA chief executive officer Fantasha Lockington said they had been going to all of their representatives to discuss how they could reduce their licensing fees as well as how they could actually stop a regulatory requirement if that particular business or that particular activity was no longer required.

She said one of the measures they had to undertake was with the Hotel Licensing Board, whose Act did not allow any hotels to waiver their licensing fee during the lockdown period.

“As an example, when we went to the Hotel Licensing Board to say, the hotels are closed, why should they be paying a licensing fee, this is cash that they really need right now,” she said.

“Their Act did not allow them to waiver any fees but they did say that each hotel had to actually write to say that you were closed.

“So it meant that they didn’t have to come and pursue a licensing fee for that year and that included liquor licensing fees.”

Ms Lockington said these were some of the measures that they put into place to see that whatever cash that was available within the industry was hung on to and not having to be used on operational cost where possible.

She said in terms of surviving one of the first things they did was taking a look at operational costs throughout the sector.

“What could we put in place that would help the industry to hang on to what little cash they already had? “People were letting go staff, people had to shut down, people had to only open, intermittently like on weekends or public holidays.

“So we had to go and have a chat every now and then with people like Land Transport Authority, MSAF, Fiji Revenue and Customs Service, the Ministry of Economy when talking about the budget, the Reserve Bank of Fiji, all arms of MCTTT so its commerce, its trade, its tourism, as well as transport, all the areas that tourism operates within, to TLTB, the Hotel Licensing Board, the Association of Banks, the Ministry of Employment and even the unions.”

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