Tour operator pledges help from the government

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Even though the tourism sector is one of the major victims during the coronavirus epidemic, the long established tour operator, Green Land Plc, asked unilateral relief in its loan facility and other mitigation mechanism.
The company established over half a century ago claimed that the epidemic imposed several challenges in its activity.
In a letter signed by Getachew Belay, General Manager of Green Land and sent to the Prime Minister and copied to other relevant government offices like Minister of Culture and Tourism, Minister of Finance, Hailemariam Desalgn, who is Tourism Board chair, Minister of Health, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Minister of Revenue, and associations related to the tourism sector, stated that since the last four months the tourism sector has been severely affected by the pandemic all over the world.
“Our company established with over 550 million birr is severely affected,” the letter states.
The company said that it is the major company on the tour operation business affected on the current global pandemic than other companies.
It said that due to the challenge its more than 500 employees are at risk of getting laid off.
It asked the government to involve in the solution and put 6 points as a short term solution to mitigate the challenge and keep employees from layoff.
In its first mitigation plan it asked the government to provide short term working capital loan to give paid leave for its employees.
According to the company its monthly wage is over half a million birr for it’s over 500 employees.
Green Land also requested a one year extension for its entire loan. It also claimed to suspend the tax refunds like VAT until the situation calm down.
The company has also asked the government to lease vehicles imported by duty free scheme for non-tourism businesses. It is recalled that tour companies that were allowed importing modern vehicles for their operation are not eligible to rent their cars other than the tourism business.
Green Land stated that from all the tour companies in the country it is the most affected company and the decision of the government is vital to tackle the current challenge.
Green Land is one of the prominent tour operators in the country that operates hundreds of vehicles.
The global lockdown and temporary flight suspension of airlines are the major challenges for the sectors like tourism. The company claimed that Ethiopian Airlines’ temporary suspension of flight to more than 30 (which is now 72) destination has imposed significant damages on the company.