The Cambodian government has given tax breaks to several sectors this year in an attempt to help offset losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Tourism-related businesses are one of them. But hotels across the Kingdom are still struggling. If things don’t change soon, many hotel owners say they see no choice but to close.
In February of this year, tax relief was extended to hotels and guesthouses in Siem Reap province due to the dreaded COVID-19 and the lack of tourism it has caused. Then, over the months, borders remained closed as the pandemic continued to wreak havoc across the world, in turn pushing the government to give tax breaks to tourism businesses across the country as a vital part of the campaign. one of the pillar industries.
Tax relief helps businesses across the country. However, many companies report that this is still a drop in the ocean in the grand scheme of things, as they still (in some cases) have to pay full rent and don’t receive any. custom.
Remi Dee, General Manager of Villa Langka Hotel in Phnom Penh, said: âWe are grateful that the government was able to give us tax relief and they also told us that our tourism license for 2021 will be free. However, the government has recommended that landlords help tenants in the tourism industry by lowering rental prices and not all landlords follow these recommendations. “
âOur hotel is split in two. This means that we have two separate owners and two different contracts. One of these owners gives us a 30% discount on the rent since April. The other owner refuses to help us at all. We have met them and asked for help on several occasions, but they still refuse to give a reduction, even after 10 years of paying our rent on time.
Hotel and guest house owners are asking for more help. They are still open and pay their overhead but without any registration as it is difficult for people to enter the country.
âThe government could help us by allowing people to enter for business purposes without large deposits. Of course, mass tourism won’t be back for a long time, but before COVID-19, 25% of our customers were here on business anyway. We also had reductions on our electricity bills, but that only amounted to a few dollars. More discounts would be appreciated as we are still open and sell rooms at a very low price so our income has been drastically reduced but our spending is still very high.
He added: âLet’s put it this way: before the pandemic, I was in charge of three hotels. Two have already closed. The third can still survive for a year, but only with a lot of effort and help from homeowners and the government.
During the exemption period, monthly tax and e-VAT returns are still required and tax-exempt entities still had to file their annual tax return for 2019 by the end of March 2020. However, entities that must paying additional income taxes were allowed to do so in monthly installments, by November.
- Key words: COVID-19 in Cambodia, hotels