The government has signalled it will provide tax relief and other assistance for SMEs

The Dutch boating sector trade group is urging the government to accelerate its financial relief to offset the damage caused by the coronavirus outbreak. It said the recreation sector as a whole is suffering a sharp drop in bookings and cancellations of existing bookings.

The government has signalled it will provide tax relief and other assistance for small and medium-sized companies.

“For the leisure and water sports sector, it is very important that the schemes are introduced as a matter of urgency,” the HISWA-Recron trade organisation said in an appeal to the government.

“Virtually all businesses in this sector are seasonal businesses that have to earn 60%-80% of their annual turnover in five to seven months,” it added. “More than 70% of these companies are capital-intensive small family businesses with limited financial reserves. If there are cancellations and no new bookings, there is no turnover. You can’t catch up after the season and the season starts today.”

The appeal came 24 hours after the HISWA Amsterdam Boat Show was shut down on the second day of its five-day run. The Dutch government announced draconian, nationwide measures to halt the spread of COVID-19 by limiting events with more than 100 people. The annual Amsterdam Boat Show normally attracts more than 35,000 visitors.

HISWA-Recron pressed the government that tax and other relief “should preferably be ready within two weeks” and free of red-tape hassles.