Bahrain hotels ask for 1 year grace time
Manama, April 20, 2009
Bahrain's one and two-star hotels asked for a one-year-period before the implementation of a government alcohol ban.
The new tourism clampdown imposed by the Culture and Information Ministry also banned them from recruiting musicians from abroad and ordered them to halt all live entertainment programmes.
Sources told our sister newspaper Gulf Daily News that 39 hotels had been notified of the new rules on Thursday, just a day before they were implemented.
'Hotel owners approached me and said they wanted to protest and seek justice from courts,' said Bahrain Society of Hotels and Restaurants president Ahmed Sanad.
'I told them the best way was to seek the leadership's help before using other means of protest.'
Sanad said he met Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa yesterday and presented him with a letter on behalf of hotel owners.
'We (hotel owners) explained that we were not given a chance, so we asked to be given one year to upgrade to three-star hotels,' he said.
Sanad, who owns one-star Al Zubara Hotel, said that the grace period would be for those keen to upgrade their hotels.
He said that other hotels can't have enough time to amend their situation.
'The Premier welcomed the request and said he would look into the matter,' he said.
Meanwhile, Qasr Al Salaam Hotel owner Waheed Rashid Flaifil told the GDN that the problem had a direct impact on hotel owners.
'The problem affects mainly the hotel owners and not the investors because they have taken their share and can leave whenever they like,' he said.
Flaifil said that his situation was very bad due to the commitments he had to meet.
'I recently bought the hotel and I am committed to paying monthly loans and if this ban continues, I will not be able to do that,' he said.
'I have to pay BD12,000 a month to the bank in addition to the payments I have to make to staff and others.
'I call upon the leadership to seriously look into the situation because I am sure that all other hotel owners must be suffering like me.'
Hotels warned that hundreds of staff could be laid off as a result of the new ban.
They claimed business would be hit hard.
They also expressed concern that the decision was taken just a week before Bahrain Grand Prix, meaning they could miss out on lucrative business generated by the race.-TradeArabia News Service