“We have already sent to the Government some measures that we consider essential for the sector, including the widening of the ‘lay-off’, the suspension of the payment of the Single Circulation Tax and the fees applied in ANA’s parks (Airports and Air Navigation)”, said, Armando Santana, president of ARA.
According to the director, companies in the sector “are facing an unprecedented crisis in the region”, caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, “with the fleets of some 46 regional companies practically stopped for two months”.
“Currently, only 5 percent to 6 percent of the fleet is functioning, due to contracts with companies and entities”, he stressed, adding that it is still not possible to account for the losses caused by the stoppage, although he estimates that they may rise into the millions of euros.
“We were leaving a low season with good prospects for which companies made investments to increase the fleet, with the acquisition of new vehicles, costs that will have to be paid according to the models that the companies contracted”, he said.
In view of the repercussions that the outbreak of the new coronavirus is having on tourism, a sector on which car rentals depend, ARA asked the Government “to extend the lay-off for more months, an important measure so that they can keep the approximately 1,500 jobs in the sector” in the region.
“There is a universe of 1,500 permanent workers and also a large number of hundreds of seasonal workers, whose jobs can be secured with the widening of the ‘lay-off’”, underlined Armando Santana.
In the opinion of the manager, as tourism is not expected to return to normal this year, there are other measures “essential to economically relieve companies, such as the suspension of payment of the IUC (Single Circulation Tax)”.
“We do not want the exemption, but rather, the temporary suspension of the payment of the tax to the State, a suspension that could remain in force until the companies transacted the vehicles to the market and when the new owner was registered”, he stressed.
In addition to the suspension of payment from the IUC, entrepreneurs also want the suspension of payments on account, since companies are not expected to show profits this year.
“In view of the current reality, companies are almost certain to present losses. That is why the payments on account do not make sense”, argued the representative.
In order to alleviate financial charges, ARA also asked the Government to suspend the fees applied to ANA’s parks, so that companies could park their vehicles there.
“As the fleets are at a standstill and companies have parks with limited capacity and the thousands of vehicles cannot be parked on the public road, we suggest that the fees charged by ANA in the car parks next to Faro airport should be suspended”, he underlined.
According to Armando Santana, the measures proposed by the rent-a-car entrepreneurs in the Algarve, “are feasible and can help to overcome the crisis in the sector”.
There are 46 regional rent-a-car companies in the Algarve, a number that does not include multinational companies in the sector that also operate in the region.
Armando Santana said that the rent-a-car sector looks to the future with great apprehension, given the doubts that exist regarding the recovery of tourism in the country, and especially in the Algarve, the sector on which they depend.
“I believe that this year we can recover something in tourism, essentially at the level of the national market, and not of the foreign market, which are our main customers”, he concluded.