Bahrain gov't may waive levy to help struggling hotels

Culture minister approves plan to waive 5% payment for three months as hotel occupancy slumps
Bahrain gov't may waive levy to help struggling hotels
Hotel occupancy in Bahrain has been badly hit during the unrest.
By Andy Sambidge
Mon 16 May 2011 10:10 PM

Struggling hotels in Bahrain may be allowed to withhold their levy payment to the government for three months in an effort to revitalise the tourism sector, it was announced on Monday.

The five percent fee levied by the Government on hotels could soon be waived temporarily as hotels try to recover revenues lost during the recent political uprisings in the kingdom.

Culture minister Sheikha Mai bint Mohammed Al-Khalifa has given her initial approval to the proposal from the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry, state news agency BPA reported.

"The measure will be submitted to the Cabinet for final approval", the Chamber said in a statement following a meeting with the minister.

The initiative is part of efforts to support hotels which have suffered badly during the recent crisis.

"The tourism sector has suffered massive losses worth millions of dollars, as revenues plummeted by up to 80 percent", BCCI CEO Ibrahim Ahmed Allanjawi said in comments published by BPA.

Hotels have reported a substantial decrease in room occupancy levels during the unrest and the Chamber said it was stepping up efforts to contain the massive losses.

Last month, CB Richard Ellis said hotel occupancy levels in Bahrain had plummeted to as low as five percent and the opening of some new hotel properties had been delayed as the island state reeled from the impact of ongoing civil unrest and the cancellation of the Formula 1 Grand Prix in February.

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