The Government of Grenada said it is taking further steps to safeguard the financial viability of small hotels in Grenada as they face the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
After first announcing the Small Hotel Loan Facility as part of the 2019 budget, with an initial injection of EC$2 million, the Government recently made an additional allocation of EC$5 million to the fund, at the Grenada Development Bank, as part of the economic stimulus package.
“Through this concessional loan facility, Government is expecting to help stimulate recovery in the sector as well as help to ensure the long-term survivability of small hotels. The tourism sector has been especially hard-hit by the pandemic, with many of the smaller properties being left cash-strapped,” Prime Minister of Grenada Dr Keith Mitchell explained.
“By streamlining the application process and making the loan facility more accessible, it is our hope that small hotels can better position themselves to continue being significant contributors to the local economy, as collectively, they provide scores of jobs to Grenadians,” he added.
What’s more, the Grenadian Government is planning to make loan payments easier for hoteliers.
Earlier today, June 15, the Cabinet agreed that the 10-year repayment terms will include a grace period of one year, with small hoteliers having the option to defer the interest and/or the principal payments. In addition, the loans will be administered at a reduced interest rate of two per cent in the second year and three per cent thereafter.
The initial aim of the Small Hotel Loan Facility was to improve the overall quality of the Spice Isle’s tourism sector by helping proprietors to undertake upgrades/minor refurbishment, marketing, and training of staff.
However, with the advent of COVID-19, the Government has increased the available sum to EC$7 million and expanded the potential uses to include payroll support and operational expenses as part of a COVID-19 ready strategy.
Mitchell, is also finance minister of Grenada, hopes that “when the country’s borders reopen, small hotels will see an uptick in business.
“I encourage them to be ready to take advantage of this possibility by implementing the required protocols for the accommodation sector and ensuring that staff is properly trained. Restarting our economy is important but we must also be prepared to do it in a manner that safeguards public health and safety.”