Measures provided by govt to support local hotel industry during epidemic


26th January 2022 – (Hong Kong)  The Government understands that the business of certain industries has been impacted by the tightening of social distancing measures, especially those premises that have been closed temporarily, and catering premises where dine-in service during dinnertime has been suspended. The Chief Executive has announced on 14th January, 2022, that the fifth round of the Anti-epidemic Fund (AEF) would be rolled out to provide assistance to the industries directly affected by the tightened measures. Although hotels are not among the premises subject to temporary closure, premises within hotels that have to be closed temporarily (e.g. bars, pubs, etc.) and those catering premises where dine-in service during dinnertime has been suspended can benefit from the relevant measures.
In fact, the Government has rolled out various measures to help the hotel industry tackle the difficult business environment. Apart from providing each eligible hotel with a one-off subsidy of HK$300,000 or HK$400,000 and introducing the Employment Support Scheme to provide assistance to employers in paying wages of their employees under the second round of the AEF, the Government announced in August 2021 the extension of waivers or concessions of various government licence fees and charges till end-September 2022. Approval was also obtained from the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council in October 2021 for injection of an additional HK$35 billion to the Special 100 per cent Guarantee Product under the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme to extend the application period to end-June 2022. The hotel industry can also benefit from these measures.
 In addition, the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) has been supporting local tourism through the “Holiday at Home” promotion platform and rolled out two rounds of “Staycation Delights” in April and September 2021 respectively to encourage locals to be a tourist in their own city. The two rounds of “Staycation Delights” had a total quota of 40,000 which translated into an injection of HK$20 million to the hotel industry, and were well received by the industry as well as the community.
As a result of the two rounds of “Staycation Delights” and other staycation activities and coupled with the designation of some hotels for quarantine purpose, the hotel room occupancy rate in the first eleven months of 2021 was 62 per cent, representing a year-on-year surge of 17 percentage points.
If the development of the epidemic situation permits, the Government will relax the social distancing measures in a gradual and orderly manner on the basis of “vaccine bubble”. The HKTB will continue to maintain close communication with the hotel industry and consider rolling out a new round of “Staycation Delights” when the epidemic situation abates so as to provide continued support for the industry.
According to the arrangement of the Designated Quarantine Hotel Scheme, the Government will provide subsidy to designated quarantine hotels (DQHs) with average occupancy rate lower than 50 per cent. Hotels concerned can apply for the subsidy after the end of the contractual period in accordance with the established mechanism. As at 24th January, 2022, the average occupancy rate of DQHs under the sixth cycle of the Scheme (covering the period from 1st December, 2021, to 28th February, 2022) is about 65 per cent.