indica News Bureau-
The lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus in the country has had a disastrous impact on the hospitality industry, especially for hotels.
Highlighting the struggles America’s hoteliers faced during the lockdown, a prominent Indian-American billioner businessman Digvijay “Danny” Gaekwad has urged the Trump administration to reopen the economy “with common sense precautions.”
He requested Vice President Mike Pence to reopen the US economy as millions of people depending on the hotel, travel, and tourism industry are on the verge of being thrown into deep poverty.
“It is impossible to survive (during COVID 19) when everything is closed down. Just in the first four months, we lost USD1 million in revenue in my two hotels. So, it is very difficult to survive,” said Danny Gaekwad. He spoke on behalf of the influential Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) at the roundtable on the hospitality and tourism industry in Orlando, Florida which was chaired by Pence.
Along with other industry leaders, Gaekwad had proposed several steps and a phased reopening of the economy in the roundtable. As the only Indian-American to present there, Gaekwad told Pence that he strongly supports President Donald Trump’s effort to open the American economy.
While he praised the Trump administration and Congress for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Gaekwad noted that without guests the effects of the program become null. “My occupancy in 2019 in April was 75 percent, this year, 2020 in April my occupancy is 12 percent. I’m so grateful that you gave us PPP money, but I have no mathematical knowledge of how to use it. There is no guest in my room, how do I get my employees to serve them.” said Gaekwad.
“How do I cope up with this? I don’t know. I am using whatever resources I have,” he said adding that he cannot sustain longer.
It’s truly a grim story for businesses like Danny Gaekwad. While the government’s stimulus is definitely helpful, they need to reassure the people of the country of safety from the virus. As the spread of the virus is still rampant, it’s difficult to tell when things will come back to normal. Until then, hoteliers like Gaekwad have to find innovative approaches to stay above ground.