Economy & Politics

“Thinking about new measures” for the hospitality industry

Almost three and a half months after the reopening of bars and restaurants, the secretary general of the federation of hoteliers, restaurateurs and cafetiers reviews the government’s strategy and takes stock of the situation on the eve of the start of the school year.

Almost three and a half months after the reopening of bars and restaurants, the secretary general of the federation of hoteliers, restaurateurs and cafetiers reviews the government’s strategy and takes stock of the situation on the eve of the start of the school year.

(ASdN with Nadia Di Pillo) – Neither all black, nor all white. While some hotel and restaurant businesses are benefiting from the government’s “Vakanz Doheem” campaign, others are recording significant losses. François Koepp, secretary general of the federation of hoteliers, restaurateurs and cafetiers (Horesca) therefore draws up a mixed picture for the hospitality sector.

How would you describe the current situation for hotel and restaurant businesses?

François Koepp: “The situation turns out to be very different depending on the company. Hotel and restaurant businesses benefit from a large number of repeat customers and therefore have little to worry about – in a family business this typically represents up to 90% of the customer base. The hotels are currently well filled for the holidays. On the other hand, the situation of hotels, bars and restaurants with business and professional customers encounter more difficulties. And the outlook for this business tourism is hardly better for the coming months.

That the validity of the vouchers be extended for an additional six months.

Francois Koepp

The government offered € 50 vouchers to residents and cross-border workers to support tourism. What do you think of this strategy?

“The government initiative has done good for the industry. Many guests have spent more than one night at the hotel and consumed well over 50 euros. 34,000 vouchers already used, that means a few million euros in turnover. No one was naive enough to believe that the full 50,000 vouchers would be used. And then, there is always time: the vouchers are valid until the end of the year.


The nights in the countryside do not know the craze hoped for out of confinement. However, between life in the great outdoors, vouchers of 50 € and a welcome away from the crowd, rural tourism has assets to defend for these holidays.


This formula was really a good idea and these coupons have helped a lot of companies get their breath back. Many seasonal activities would have been totally ruined without it. Nevertheless, I would like the validity of the vouchers to be extended for six months, that is to June 2021. Ultimately, there would be no additional costs for the government.

How big do you think the losses are?

“For establishments operating on business tourism there, the situation is catastrophic. While the room occupancy rate in the leisure tourism hotel industry is between 60% and 70%, in the business tourism hotel industry we plunge between 18% and 30%. Restaurants and cafes that depend on professionals and cross-border workers generate 50% of their turnover.

Finally, if the cafes of the capital are doing quite well, the small village bistros are struggling. The fact that clients have to return home at midnight is a major issue, so we would like to have a clarification on the curfew so that entrepreneurs can plan for the upcoming holidays and New Years Eve. cafes stay open later. Whether in Austria, Belgium or France.

We would like the government to take the German and Austrian route

Francois Koepp

What other measures would make sense in the coming months?

“If the partial unemployment benefit is not extended to an additional month, I can already tell you that unemployment will rise sharply and that many entrepreneurs will lay off their employees to save their companies. No one can go long without perspective.


The use of telework has made it possible to contain the covid epidemic in Luxembourg. But the persistent estrangement of thousands of employees severely penalizes traders and restaurateurs for whom the physical absence of customers becomes a fatal virus.


Luxembourg has already agreed with its neighbors that the tax treaty on teleworking as part of the fight against the spread of covid-19 would remain in force until December 31, 2020. This is a blow to catering establishments which depend on this border clientele. Those who thought operations would resume on September 15 are bitterly disappointed: there is no further improvement in sight for them.

You still have to accept a significant loss in sales of up to 50%, but still pay 100% rent, 100% cost. There is an urgent need for support. Abroad, particularly in Germany and Austria, operating costs are now covered by the government at pro rata losses.

Are these examples to follow?


Wort.fr, Terrassen und Restaurants, Luxemburg, Covid-19, Coronavirus, Horesca, foto: Chris Karaba / Luxemburger Wort

While the new covid law comes into force on Friday, establishments that do not comply with health rules now risk a lot. If 23 of them have already been fined, some bars and cafes caught in the act consider the device disproportionate.


“Yes. We would like the government to take the German and Austrian route. Employees can now benefit from the partial unemployment benefit for a maximum period of two years, until December 31, 2021. In Germany, employers are reimbursed for Social Security contributions on the partial unemployment benefit of their employees. Full repayment has been extended until June 2021 and half of the contributions will be repaid by the end of 2021.

In Luxembourg, we receive 250 euros per employee for partial unemployment. It’s better than nothing, but we would like the measures to continue at least until next summer. The government’s stimulus package sent an important and positive signal to businesses, but now is the time to think about new measures. ”


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