March 6: Hotels across the country have started giving paid leave to their staff due to the slump in business caused by the coronavirus outbreak across the globe.
Especially, star-rated hotels of the capital have laid off their staff temporarily on paid leave to adjust to the current situation. Some hotels have started capacity development training for their employees during the slowdown of business.
Many star hotels and tourist areas have started wearing deserted looks in lack of visitors, most of whom have stopped travelling due to fears of contracting the deadly disease which has already killed over 3200 people mostly in China where the virus originated.
Hotel occupancy during this period of year used to be around 80 percent in the previous years. This had dropped to 35 percent at present. Hotel entrepreneurs have informed that cancellation of bookings is also increasing every day.
As a result, hotel employees have had to stay idle in otherwise busy season. Therefore, the hotel entrepreneurs started giving them paid leave.
Normally, hotels employees can enjoy 45 days of paid leave throughout a year during normal circumstances. But this time, the hotels have started giving them such leave at once. Hotel entrepreneurs are yet to decide whether to extend their leave or not once the leave period comes to an end.
Mostly, star hotels of Nepal are chiefly dependent on foreign tourists. It is not possible to sustain the hotels with income generated from domestic tourists. However, tourist arrival has been witnessed a nosedive due to the widespread fear of coronavirus, which has now spread across the globe. Many countries have issued travel advisories to their citizens not to travel abroad during such a risky period.
Nepal has also decided not to issue on-arrival visas to passengers arriving from five countries which have been severely affected by coronavirus.
Coronavirus outbreak has not only affected Nepal’s hotel business but has caused cancellation of hotel bookings worldwide.
Hotel Association of Nepal (HAN) President Shreejana Rana said that the association has urged its members to approve ‘pending leave’ to their staffers.
“Coronavirus has not only affected the hotel business in Nepal but across the world,” she said.
“We are helpless at the moment,” she added.