WITH constant low occupancy, the Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC) has called on local government units (LGUs) to help them stay afloat during the Covid-19 pandemic.
HRRAC president Carlo Suarez said LGUs play an important role in stimulating consumer confidence.
“LGUs should announce that they are open. We have Covid but it’s controlled. They just need to announce that we are open and we are ready to accept the domestic market because there are no foreign tourists yet,” he said.
This, as the temporary closure of five-star luxury hotel Makati Shangri-La, Manila sent a warning that other hotels may follow suit as the pandemic continues to hit the hospitality industry.
HRRAC vice president Alfred Reyes saw the closure of the iconic hotel as a precedent for other hotels, calling it “alarming.”
“If the situation will still not improve, I will not be surprised that there will be a few other hotels that will follow in the footsteps of Makati Shangri-La, Manila,” he told SunStar Cebu.
Reyes said the closure of a hotel will not only be a huge blow for stakeholders but most especially to the hundreds of employees.
In April 2020, the Department of Labor and Employment reported that more than one million Filipinos were displaced due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and majority of them came from industries like hotels and restaurants.
Reyes urged the government to loosen documentation for travelers to spur tourism coupled with stringent safety protocol.
“They should look at the market first before making decisions. Stakeholders are suffering to the max already,” he said.
On Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, Makati Shangri-La, Manila announced its closure starting on Feb. 1 due to the mounting financial pressure caused by the pandemic.
“Owing to continued low business levels and having considered all viable options over weeks of consideration and deliberation, we unfortunately must now make the extremely difficult decision to reorganize our workforce and operations in the Philippines as we continue to navigate an uncertain business environment,” the hotel said in a statement.
As part of the reorganization exercise, Shangri-La said it will “sadly be parting ways with a number of colleagues and will be temporarily closing Makati Shangri-La, Manila.”
Reyes said economic activity picked up in December 2020 but hotels are now back to square one in January, especially since the new variant of the coronavirus, which is more contagious, emerged and further dampened confidence. (JOB)