The Liberal Critic for Tourism, Mr. Frantz Benjamin, accompanied by colleagues Mr. Carlos Leitão, Finance Critic and Mr. Monsef Derraji, Critic for SMEs and Innovation, urged the government to quickly deploy a direct assistance program to help the hotel industry cover their fixed monthly expenses (rent, utilities, insurance, etc.).
This assistance could be ensured for the first year after activities have resumed and would allow eligible accommodations establishments to get through this crisis that is hitting this sector hard. A number of initiatives could be advanced, such as delaying municipal tax payments or accommodation taxes. While remaining creative, various levels of governments could even offer tax relief measures.
80% of hotel industry establishments are currently closed, some of them might not reopen their doors. In April alone the occupancy rates dropped from 70% to 3%. During this difficult period, accommodations’ corporate earnings are plummeting, but additional costs are being incurred as hotel owners adjust to the new health realities on top of their fixed monthly expenses, which remain the same.
If nothing is done, if no clear action is taken, if the government does not intervene quickly to support Quebec’s accommodations sector, it will be the abandonment of one of the key facets of our tourism industry and the consequences could be disastrous.
–Mr. Frantz Benjamin, Liberal Critic for Tourism and MNA representing Viau.
It is a worrisome time for hotels in all of our regions. An eventual resumption of activities within Quebec’s tourism industry will require that the government offer adapted financial support to the accommodations sector. In Quebec the vast majority of hotels are SMEs that are owned by Quebecers and contribute in an exceptional manner to our regions’ vitality.
–Mr. Monsef Derraji, Liberal Critic for SMEs and Innovation and MNA representing Nelligan.
The tourism sector on its own generates billions in revenues each year and employs over 400,000 people. Recall that the accommodations tax is the source of funding for Regional Tourism Associations, which are the lungs of the industry. It was the first sector affected by the coronavirus pandemic and it should not be the last one to receive governmental support.
–Mr. Carlos Leitão, Liberal Finance Critic and MNA representing Robert-Baldwin.