The Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association on Monday hailed the change in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Payment Protection Program that allows hotels with casinos to benefit from the loans.
“Since the CARES Act was announced last April, to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the PRHTA has worked continuously to correct the outdated SBA policy that prevented entities that received income from gaming to qualify for loans through the program,” the trade group’s president Miguel Vega said.
The PRHTA, with the support of several members companies including Interlink, HI-Development, Marriott and Grupo Serrallés sent letters to members of the U.S. House of Representatives, to the SBA, and to the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico to draw to attention the importance of the hospitality industry, the casinos, and their urgency to be admitted to the program.
The PRHTA was also in direct communication with Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González and members of the local Legislature to work on this matter, Vega said.
Hotels that house casinos in Puerto Rico provide 11% of the room tax the government collects, while non-casino hotels generate 9%.
According to data collected from Puerto Rico Tourism Company reports, for the fiscal year 2018-2019, casinos contributed $66.2 million to the University of Puerto Rico; the $57.4 million to the Tourism Company (PRTC); and $22 million to the General Fund, for a total of $145.8 million.