Speaking on behalf of the Jakarta Hotels Association, Sjefke Jansen, General Manager of Hotel Indonesia Kempinski explains the industry’s standpoint and what the future is like after the plague.
Do you think that Jakarta was prepared for yet another crisis? If not what should the authorities have done but didn’t?
We admit that last year was quite tough for the Hospitality business, and we were hoping for a better year in 2020. Yet, we are facing an even tougher crisis and are extremely challenged on how to keep the industry alive. We certainly expect a quick and well-targeted decision to immediately reduce the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic to our industry. We believe that Jakarta is now well prepared to handle that.
Were the hotels in your association prepared?
I am certain that none of our members predicted at the beginning of the year that we would be facing a situation of such magnitude. But since the news about Covid-19 in several countries and how it affects business, I’m sure our members have prepared several scenarios to deal with even the worst effects of this epidemic to the business.
Was the response that happened good, was enough done, is enough being done now?
Although the response was a little slow in the beginning, everyone caught up quickly and we are now well prepared.
Business has completely disappeared for all hotels, restaurants, malls, schools, everyone. What should be done to aid recovery?
I am not in the capacity of speaking for other industries, but for hotels, we are relentlessly evaluating the current situation and are in consultations with the local and central government, in order to discuss a relief program for the entire industry. We expect subsidies in form of taxes relaxation, deductions on basic expenses such as electricity and water, as well as other actions that will prevent member hotels from closing down.
Especially for the hotels, what should be done now to assist those who are struggling; both the employees and the employers?
If both central and local government support the initiatives mentioned above, it would help employers to save the business and at the end retained their employees.
Do you know of programs that have already kicked in which will benefit Jakarta?
Prakerja card program for employees that unfortunately has been laid off and waiver on PPH 21 (income tax) for six months that should help employees. We are still waiting for initiatives from central or local government to support the corporation to survive.
Looking to the future, how long will it be until the city is back to “normal”? Will the new “normal” be the same as the old?
We know that the pandemic is temporary and shall pass. Some studies predict that the impact will last until the end of the year but hopefully it will not come to that and we can bounce back in the latter half of this year to gradually setting pace to get back to “normal”. I think the shift in mindset will be temporary and we will be back to ‘tried & true’ within twelve months from now and all we will be talking about is ADR, OCC and REVPAR.