The Tourism Ministry estimates that in March alone the tourism sector lost between $ 380 million and $ 418 million due to the health emergency. In addition, around 23,818 businesses nationwide registered in the cadastre of tourist activities do not yet have an opening date.
Rosi Prado, Minister of Tourism, assures that 95% of these businesses are small and medium companies.
He highlights that some of them have sought ways to remain active, such as restaurants with home deliveries and hotels that receive Ecuadorians who come from abroad and must comply with the 14-day isolation.
As of Friday, 236 lodging establishments were registered to provide this service.
Holbach Muñetón, president of the Federation of Tourism Chambers of Ecuador , assures that this activity has not occurred in all businesses.
He claims that in April the food and beverage sector lost $ 121 million, lodging $ 32 million, brokerage of operations $ 38 million, and tourist transportation, which includes airlines, $ 132 million.
According to data from Quito Tourism, 4 and 5 star hotels in the capital register losses that reach $ 49 million per month.
While medium and small hotels, such as those located in La Mariscal, have lost close to $ 450,000 each month.
For Muñetón, once the businesses in the sector are reactivated, they will have to face one more challenge: customers will take time to return.
In addition, he continues, they depend on the reactivation of other activities such as commerce and airlines. Remember that the tourism sector works with foreign and national corporate and tourist activities.
Added to this concern are entertainment business owners.
Patricio Pareja, president of the Guayas Night Center , assures that there are places that made up to $ 10,000 per night. He calculates that there are 300 establishments of this type among bars, discotheques, karaokes, salsotheques and bars.
Couple says the losses are great.
“Much is going bankrupt. They were able to resist March and April. But let’s go May ”.
He adds that if they are allowed to open in mid-July, as neighboring countries will, several stores will go bankrupt, since 90% of them, in Guayas, pay leases.
Pareja owns two discotheques in Guayaquil. Only one of them left him weekly earnings of $ 5,000. Lease payment $ 3,000. He points out that when he reopens he will have a debt of about $ 12,000.
However, this account plus the expenses for basic services are met by their savings, so Pareja does not plan to close his business.
This sector is willing to continue closed until the authorities authorize the opening. When reactivated they will comply with strict biosafety regulations.
The owners of nightclubs analyze using disinfection tunnel, temperature control, personnel with gloves and masks, disinfection of premises, disposal of alcohol, respect the distance and operate with 50% or 60% of the capacity of the premises and upon prior reservation .
On the other hand, it is not only this type of business that still cannot open its doors. To these are added other establishments, such as gyms.
Daniel Vélez, owner of Dojo Martial Arts , believes that during this year he will not be able to open his gym because he gives fighting classes that involve a lot of contact between about his 80 students.
However, the owner of the premises will not collect the rent until it reopens. The amount is $ 2,600 a month.
Paúl Vega, owner of Fitness Ofice , believes that gyms can operate with certain restrictions and biosecurity measures, such as continuously disinfecting machines and customers upon entry.
He also considers that routines could be sent in advance so that athletes can work alone.
“We have to go out to work if we want to produce, we just have to do it carefully,” says Vega . (I)
Some proposals to revive tourism in the country
Quito Tourism considers that three strategies should be worked on initially to reactivate the sector: strengthen the tourist offer, have safe services and focus promotion towards the internal market. With this agrees the Minister of Tourism, Rosi Prado. He believes that local tourism must be activated first and then move on to regional tourism .
For his part, Holbach Muñetón, president of the Federation of Ecuador’s Chambers of Tourism, thinks that strategies should first be analyzed to give liquidity to businesses. It proposes that payments of the sector’s obligations be postponed until January 2021. That the credits for the sector be extended to more than 20 years. And to encourage travelers not to collect VAT in formal tourist places on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. That those same days the national air tickets have a 50% discount.
The Emerging Committee of Tourist Entrepreneurs of Ecuador proposes the exemption of annual and monthly payments of items related to municipal patents, renewal of operating licenses, tax rates for firefighters and environmental tax.
They also request that they be released from paying the tax called 1 x 1000 on fixed assets this year.
They also request to have access to credits in public and private banking entities with an interest of between 4% and 6%, with a grace period of 6 months minimum and quarterly payment installments, according to the sales of each business. In addition to this, they believe that it is important to create incentives for legal companies. (I)