Hospitality Highlights 16th March 2020
Dubai based hotel company Emaar Hospitality has confirmed it will no longer be taking bookings from the 15th of March to the 31st August 2020. This change will be reflected in 3 of the chain’s UAE based hotels. Of course, the company has come to this “most difficult” decision to avoid the spread of coronavirus and normally wouldn’t consider such an extreme measure. However, the 3 hotels will still be functioning in other ways, with its gym, restaurant and swimming pools remaining open for locals. Those who have already made room reservations will either be compensated or moved to other Emaar properties that are remaining operational.
Boris Johnson’s government in the UK announced its first budget this week. A matter of weeks ago it was Brexit that was expected to dominate proceedings, but instead, it was the fallout from coronavirus. Initial growth projections have been revised from 1.4% to 1.1% in the wake of the virus. Large technology giants like Facebook and Google will be expected to pay an additional 2% tax, but the government has also ringfenced £7 billion to support businesses across the country who’ve been affected by coronavirus. There have also been changes to when employees are able to earn Statutory sick pay, with the virus changing this legislation overnight.
In other UK budget-related news, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has confirmed a number of special measures designed to support UK businesses including those who operate within the hospitality sector. Companies with less than 250 members of staff will be refunded by the government for any sick pay for up to two weeks. ‘Business interruption’ loans will be made available for those in need. Businesses rates below the value of £51,000 will be abolished for those in the retail and hospitality sectors. Duties on alcoholic beverages will be frozen and finally, business rates discounts for bars and pubs will rise from £1000 to £5000 for the rest of 2020. For more information click here.
Airbnb has been told to pay a bill of up to €200 million. The news comes after a court ruled the company was not able to claim booking fees from any Dutch customers. The court based out of Amsterdam said the company had breached one of its laws, one in which “middlemen” were forbidden from taking booking fees from customers and hotels. The law came into effect in 2015 and is intended to protect both consumers and Dutch-based businesses from being preyed upon by outside booking agents. Airbnb is set to appeal the decision however, arguing that they are providing a service and should not be expected to do so for free.
What are your thoughts on the spread of coronavirus or any of the other stories from today’s briefing? Share them in the comments below.