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Swiss hotel association says Covid-19 loans should be waived

Hotel worker in Switzerland
The hotel association reported that the average occupancy rate of Swiss hotels stood at 15% in May across the country. The rate is expected to rise to 23% for June-August in cities and 43% in popular tourist regions. Keystone / Jean-christophe Bott

The authorities should write off Covid-19 loans in hardship cases and short-time work arrangements should be extended to help the ailing Swiss hotel industry, says the country’s largest hotel association.

Hotellerie SchweizExternal link said on Monday that additional measures were needed to help the hotel sector, which has been badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

It reported that the average occupancy rate of Swiss hotels stood at 15% in May across the country. The rate is expected to rise to 23% for June-August in cities and 43% in popular tourist regions. However, domestic demand will not make up for the lack of foreign guests, the association said.

Further measures and a clear roadmap were needed to ensure liquidity and investment opportunities for hotels and to help initiate a recovery, it wrote.

The association, which represents 3,000 members, said that in cases of severe hardship Covid loans should be waived. It added that short-time working arrangements for the hotel industry should be extended from 12 to 18 months.

Short-time working

Large numbers of Swiss companies affected by the pandemic have seen an alarming drop in revenue and have resorted to short-time workingExternal link to avoid redundancies. Around two-thirds of Swiss hotels applied for Covid loans, and 96% have resorted to short-time work.

Thanks to short-time work, Covid loans and easing measures, the situation has eased for some establishments, the association said. Two months ago, one in ten hotels said there was a 60% chance of them going bankrupt; in June this figure was around 3% of hotels.

Tourism is one of Switzerland’s biggest industries, generating around 3% of gross domestic product (GDP). It employs some 170,000 people. The hotel industry alone generates CHF8.1 billion ($8.6 billion) in turnover each year and employs 63,000 people in Switzerland.

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