Last Updated on Thursday, 22 June, 2023 at 8:50 am by Andre Camilleri
Hotels and restaurants are much better equipped with staff for this summer than they were last year, President of the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association Tony Zahra told the Malta Business Weekly.
Compared to last year, when Covid measures had begun to be phased out, “the situation has improved tremendously,” Zahra said.
“I think at this moment in time hotels and the restaurants have got a good complement of staff, most of whom are coming from third countries.”
Although this is the case, he clarified that there still isn’t an excess of workers for restaurants and hotels to choose from. “It is still a challenge, but I do not think it is as difficult or as bad as it was when we re-opened in May of last year.”
Zahra pointed out how last year businesses had to deal with a situation where occupancy went from “0 to practically 100% all at once… Hospitality everywhere, not just Malta, had reduced their staff because we did not know when Covid was going to finish.”
Asked whether the significant €9.90 increase in the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) negatively affected businesses, Zahra did not believe that this was a “major issue.”
“I think that everybody was expecting it, it was something that was factored into… The strong demand has enabled hoteliers to achieve a better room rate and consequently able to absorb the increase in COLA.”
When speaking about the effect rising prices had on restaurants and hotels, Zahra said that the price increase would be more visible in a restaurant than it would be in a hotel.
Considering that consumers will visit a restaurant more frequently than a hotel, Zahra said that the consumer will be more shocked by a price increase in a restaurant on a day-to-day basis, rather than a hotel increasing its price. The consumer might visit a hotel very infrequently, therefore, they would be more accepting if the price of a hotel room increased from their last visit.
“Psychologically speaking, it has more of an effect in the restaurant business when you have a price increase than it does when you have a price increase in the hotel industry.”