Industry Update
Press Release 5 December 2018

IH&RA served as co-organizer of the MedaWeek Hospitality Forum Barcelona in November 2018

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At the 2018 Barcelona Hospitality Forum, IH&RA, the global association of hotels and restaurants, was the co-organizer, with ASCAME, of a special hospitality symposium at MedaWeek, during which the organization's President Dr. Ghassan AIDI addressed several issues that concern the industry.

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With OTAs and Airbnb presenting new challenges to hotels worldwide, Dr. Aidi proposed such solutions as selling "ROOMS BY THE HOUR", allowing guests to enjoy a "micro-stay" at a hotel for an hour or more, to relax, work, sleep or dine from room service. Hotels are already beginning to take advantage of this new revenue stream, with rooms potentially rented several times over, offered at a rate much cheaper than the published overnight rate. Some three to four thousand hotels worldwide provide this service. Some of them offer guests an option to purchase a "credit card" with 100 hours' credit. In particular, travelers vacationing with children find this an inexpensive option compared to Airbnb.

Dr. Aidi also demanded that governments and municipalities level the playing field by regulating Airbnb the same way they do hotels. "Hoteliers pay so much for the various licenses and taxes that Airbnb does not," he said. "Airbnb lodging must be declared and registered within a city, which can either limit stays to a certain number of days per year or require the purchase of a nominal license and payment of fees to the government."

"France is a promising example," Dr. Aidi continued. "The so-called LEMAIRE law limits stays to 120 days, and regulates the automatic transmission of income information, relevant fees and Social Security payments. Our industry is the last barrier against poverty. We recruit, hire, and train thousands of people every day, paying competitive wages. Every day ten new hotels are opened somewhere in the world," he noted, underscoring the contribution the industry makes to local economies.

Dr. Aidi also spoke on the very high level of taxation that hoteliers are obliged to deal with every year. He implored governments to reduce VAT rates to single-digit rates, which would ease overall taxation and encourage investment. "Stop treating hoteliers like cows to be milked!" he said.

In 2019 IH&RA will begin certifying hotels for sustainable development with its exclusive brand Emeraude Hotels. In 2018 the organization was present at the Barcelona forum for the third time, addressing issues the industry is facing. IH&RA is happy to take on the role of defending the private sector of hospitality from threats of all kinds.

International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IH&RA)

Founded in 1859 in Koblenz (Germany), the IH&RA is the only business organisation representing the hospitality industry worldwide. Its members are national hotel and restaurant associations throughout the world, and international and national hotel and restaurant chains representing some 50 brands. Officially recognised by the United Nations, IH&RA monitors and lobbies all international agencies on behalf of this industry, estimated to comprise 300,000 hotels and 8 million restaurants, employ 60 million people and contribute 950 billion USD annually to the global economy.

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Ghassan AIDI
President
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