PN calls for VAT suspension on hotels to mitigate coronavirus impact

The Nationalist Party says that fears surrounding Covid-19 are leading to the tourism sector suffering from ‘uncertainty’

The hotel industry is feeling the pinch of reduced travel as a result of the coronavirus
The hotel industry is feeling the pinch of reduced travel as a result of the coronavirus

The Nationalist Party has called for the suspension of the 7% VAT on accommodation in Malta and Gozo due to the effects of the coronavirus on the industry.

Robert Arrigo, the PN’s tourism spokesperson, said that the tourism sector is suffering from “uncertainty” due to the fears surrounding the Covid-19 virus.

“This is only worsening an industry that is already under threat due to the lack of planning from the government,” Arrigo said.

He said the suspension of VAT will serve to mitigate the impact on businesses and entrepreneurs.

“We need to help these businesses due to the complete slowdown in bookings,” Arrigo, a hotelier himself, said.

He also insisted that this shows how the party is being proactive in the industry.

Fears surrounding the coronavirus have continued to escalate, as Italy yesterday closed all schools and universities for two weeks in a bid to stymie the spread of the virus. Football matches and main sporting events will also be played behind closed doors as the neighbouring country has become a hotbed for Covid-19 in Europe.

On Tuesday doctors called on the government to cancel all tourist flights from northern Italy as a precaution to prevent a coronavirus outbreak in Malta.

The Medical Association of Malta accused the government of failing in its duty to protect the health of the population by overruling the advice of health professionals.

The health authorities have so far stuck to World Health Organisation guidelines that argue against travel bans.