BRUSSELS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nowhere has the economic impact of the pandemic fallen more heavily than on the hospitality industry. Given this sector’s significance to the global economy, it must remain a priority, with resources allocated accordingly. Anheuser-Busch InBev (“AB InBev”) has worked closely with businesses in the hospitality sector for years, particularly with its many vulnerable small and midsize enterprises (SMEs), giving it valuable insights into how to protect them during crises.
Here are some critical steps to ensuring hospitality SMEs survive COVID-19:
- Do No More Harm: Future measures must not increase the burden on the vulnerable.
- Foster a Predictable Business Environment: Governments need to provide clarity and predictability regarding future expectations to enable businesses to avoid the “yo-yo” situation of spending money to reopen, then being forced to close again.
- Implement a Tactical Approach to Recovery: Governments should take steps to optimize the hospitality sector’s reopening while avoiding high COVID-19 risk, such as preventing closures or evictions through rent subsidies, providing tax credits to the most vulnerable SMEs, or assisting SMEs with moving into viable forms of e-commerce.
- Encourage Inter-industry Collaboration: The sector will have to develop a supportive ecosystem that draws on governments, private enterprise, and multilateral organizations. Public-private partnerships can also encourage the sector’s regrowth, as consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies play a critical role in the industry. Their connections with local formal and informal business should be used to support SMEs.
Hospitality SMEs worldwide share many pandemic-related challenges, including the range of fast-changing, externally imposed restrictions that cripple commercial possibilities. Outright bans on goods such as alcohol, which accounts for one-third of revenue and even more profit, have also proved challenging.
This is a global challenge in a critical industry that generates 10 percent of employment worldwide, making its decline dangerous; The World Bank estimates another 150 million people could fall into extreme poverty worldwide in 2021, erasing over three years of global poverty reduction.
Without coordinated and long-term policies to revive the beleaguered hospitality industry and the SMEs at its core, this decline could persist, fueling a global recession. Even as the pandemic subsides, policymakers need to take action to better equip SMEs to protect our global economy.
For more information about AB InBev, please visit www.ab-inbev.com.