By Shailesh Yadav
New Delhi [India], July 17 (ANI): Contingency fund created post-Kedarnath flash floods has helped in running the business, said Chairman of Welcomhotel The Savoy Mussoorie, Kishore Kumar Kaya on Friday.
In an interview to ANI, Kaya said, "We had created three months of contingency fund after the flash floods ravaged Uttarakhand's Kedarnath valley in June 2013, killing around 5,000 people. Since then, we continued this fund which helped us managing the expenses and salaries of our 125 staff when hotels were completely shut due to COVID-19."
He said that the contingency fund has "helped a lot". He further added that at a time when people were losing jobs and getting pay-cuts, they "had not laid off a single staff member", neither "cut off the salaries" despite the voluntary request of some of their senior staff members.
The chairman further said, "We are very much concerned for our staff and their family; we ran langar throughout 68 days during lockdown to feed more than 1,000 people daily. God has been kind to us and at this juncture in life, we as a family are making a feeble attempt to give back to society."
Kaya said that from July, hotels are open in Uttarakhand but as per state government guidelines, it is mandatory for a tourist to stay for a week. "But my request to the government is to reduce this quarantine period from seven days to three days as no tourist will stay for a week in Mussoorie," he said.
He also said that the government has given stimulus package to the industry but the hospitality sector is left out.
"Govt has waived off fixed electricity charges but we also request the govt to waive off the annual license charges which include excise and pollution fees and house, water charges," he added.
He also said that pre lockdown room occupancy was 70 per cent at the hotel and every year in July the room occupancy remains around 90 to 95 per cent but due to COVID-19, they have a room occupancy of 15 per cent only.
"We expect that once the COVID-19 vaccine is available, the hotel industry will revive from its worst. According to CARE ratings, a report released earlier this month, the hotel industry may take anywhere between six to eight quarters to reach the pre-COVID-19 level occupancy rates," he said.
DK Tyagi, Director of a London based DK Hotels Group Ltd said that the UK govt has done a lot for the industry. 80 per cent of the salaries of the hotel staff were given by the UK govt when there was complete lockdown. "Taxes were reduced, this saved our business and the helped a lot meeting daily needs and expenses of our employees," he said.
He further added that the Indian government should also come forward to save the industry with some similar type of package. (ANI)