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    Tourism employees struggle despite sector rebound, say stakeholders

    May 31, 2022

    AMMAN — The tourism sector’s rebound has not been reflected on the sector’s workforce, according to stakeholders.

    “The State of the Country’s Report 2021, tourism sector, focused on the employers rather than the sector’s workers,” Khaled Abu Marjoub, president of the Freelance Workers Association, told The Jordan Times.

    Abu Marjoub said the report “disregarded” the workforce’s challenges and demands.

    Furthermore, it did not list any recommendations in favour of the tourism sector’s workers, he added.

    “The advancement of the tourism sector requires immediate response to the labourers’ demands,” Abu Marjoub said.

    He added that the sector employs thousands of employees, so helping employees overcome their challenges will help the sector recover and move the “economic wheel”.

    “The tourism sector workers’ payments have ‘shrunk’ due to current economic conditions,” he added.

    He said that the “service charge” is still low, despite the tourism sector’s rebound.

    “We demand employers to pay their workforce 10 per cent service charge instead of 5 per cent,” Abu Marjoub stated.

    He pointed out that hotel owners demand that the service charge remains at a 5 per cent rate, while the income tax remains at 8 per cent rate instead of 16 per cent “as it used to be”.

    He said that a 5 per cent service charge affects workers in the sector and will especially when the “Estidama” (sustainability) programme concludes.

    Meanwhile, several sources working in the hotel industry in Jordan confirmed that hotels pay 8 per cent income tax, instead of 16 per cent.

    “It was a government decision to reduce income tax from 16 per cent to 8 per cent and it has been in place since the beginning of the pandemic,” a source told The Jordan Times on condition of anonymity.

    The source also noted that hotels were “some of the most affected establishments” from the global lockdowns and international travel restrictions.

    However, Abu Marjoub stated that the tourism sector is recovering and all the restrictions that were imposed due to the pandemic have been eased, in addition to a very high hotel occupancy rate.

    “The tourism sector’s recovery was for the interest of employers and was not positively reflected on workers and their rights,” Abu Marjoub added.

    “We should not neglect their demands because they are the service providers in the tourism sector,” Abu Marjoub said.

    Despite several attempts by The Jordan Times to contact Hotel Owners Association, they were not available to comment.


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