AmCham Hospitality Committee demands the alleviation of measures imposed on the HORECA sector

Prishtina, September 24, 2020 – The American Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo’s Hospitality and Tourism Committee expresses the concerns of its members regarding the measures taken by the Government of the Republic of Kosovo, which restrict the economic activities of enterprises in the HORECA industry. AmCham Hospitality and Tourism Committee believes that the restriction of the movement schedule as well as the prohibition of using indoor spaces within business entities such as restaurants, bars, and pubs, hinders these businesses’ economic recovery, as well as the conduction of their economic activities in a free market economy, whereas such a practice also has detrimental implications on economic development and the doing business environment.

The delay in implementation of the economic recovery measures related to the approval of the relevant legislation, which among other things makes the reduction of the value added tax (VAT) to 8% impossible, also has the same effect. This impacts the recovery of the businesses in this sector, whereas quicker approval of the draft law would have the effect of facilitating the operation of enterprises affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision to restrict movement and prohibit staying, eating and drinking in indoor commercial environments is negatively affecting the operations of business entities by limiting the number of customers.

The Hospitality and Tourism Committee considers that the decision to ban staying inside and restricting movement hours undoubtably implicates the reduction of sales revenues which in turn prevents the expansion and development of the HORECA sector. Consequently, the Hospitality and Tourism Committee considers that any positive effect generated by such a policy would be outweighed by the negative impacts it has on the country’s economy and businesses. Therefore, the Committee considers that the commitment of local institutions must be based on creating a healthy environment for the private sector, which creates preconditions for sustainable economic and social development during this period of time.

Finally, AmChams Hospitality and Tourism Committee urges the Government of Kosovo that in coordination with ministries and relevant institutions they re-evaluate the implemented measures and allow staying in closed environments, in restaurants, bars and pubs, while always respecting the measures established by the NIPHK, as well as lift the restriction of movement for citizens and vote on the draft law for economic recovery.