The Sustained Effects Of COVID-19 On The Gozitan Tourism Sector August 2020 Survey
During these last days the Gozo Tourism Association conducted an online survey amongst its members to understand better the sustained effects brought about by Covid-19 on the Gozitan tourism sector. Through the findings of this survey, the Association will review which measures are deemed to be more effective for the Gozitan tourism establishments and assist in mitigating the impact of the pandemic on the tourism sector.
The encouraging response to this survey from Gozitan tourism operators covered a spread across the tourism sector on Gozo. The categories that filled in the survey were coming from the Accommodation sectors, Restaurants, Diving Centres, Tourist Attractions, Transport, Tour operators, DMCs, Travel Agencies, Real Estate and Tourism Consultancy firms.
The survey confirmed the obvious effect on the revenue generated by the Gozitan tourism establishments up to end July 2020. In fact, all the establishments reported less revenue on previous year. The majority of respondents stated that their revenue was between 55% to 65% less than 2019.
The present situation cannot be sustained indefinitely, as 76% of respondents stated that their establishment cannot survive in the current circumstances beyond December 2020. The main concerns of these establishments are the lack of revenue, the employee costs, Vat and Tax payments, utilities payments and the covid-19 restrictions.
The respondents of this survey in their majority (80%), declared that they did not affect any redundancies amongst their work force, even though several sectors were closed or not operating. However, if the situation remains unchanged, 18% reported that they will start effecting laying off employees, while 35% will carry on with their respective operation, and a further 14% will contemplate to close down their establishments. Other respondents will be taking future decisions on a day by day basis while a 10% envisage a change in the services they are presently offering. On the other hand, 32% of those who filled the survey declared that they have engaged new employees after May 2020.
Furthermore 75 % of those who filled in the survey stated that the government aid was a very good leverage for the operation of their establishment. Yet if the current situation prevails beyond December 2020, they perceive redundancies from their respective establishments. Other questions in this survey covered the issue of rent. 57% of respondents declared that they operate from their own premises, while 43% are operating from rented premises. Of those operating from rented premises, 44% perceive the Government grant of €2500 as satisfactory, while 56% said it was not sufficient. The majority of respondents in this survey (87%) stated that without the Government financial support they cannot operate beyond September 2020.
The tourism operators were also asked about the vouchers that were distributed by Government as from July. The majority of respondents 86% are in fact accepting these vouchers. Only 21% of respondents answered that payments by vouchers was between 50% and 75% of their revenue, while 23% confirmed the bracket of 25% to 49% as revenue payments by vouchers. The remaining respondents 56% declared that their revenue represented between 10% to 24% of their revenue. Finally, the findings of this survey will be included in a report which the Gozo Tourism Association is compiling and which eventually will be presented to the respective Authorities.