SUNBIZ

COVID-19: Ahura Properties Close on March 31, Others Feel Impact

Major resorts in the west have come up with business plans to sustain their business and ensure their staff are well looked after during this gloomy time.
22 Mar 2020 14:15
COVID-19: Ahura Properties Close on March 31, Others Feel Impact
Malolo Island Resort in the Mamanuca Group

Major resorts in the west have come up with business plans to sustain their business and ensure their staff are well looked after during this gloomy time.

In light of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), Fiji has two confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of last night.

The first patient remains in isolation at Lautoka Hospital where he is in stable condition.

The second patient is in isolation at the Nadi Hospital.

The city of Lautoka is circled off with no entry or departures.

COVID-19 is seriously having an impact on the tourism industries around the world and Fiji has been no exception. Some of our big properties are feeling it.

SunBiz spoke to senior executives from Ahura Resorts, Tanoa Group and Outrigger Resort on their sustainability plans for the business and their staff.

Ahura Resorts

Ahura Resorts’ Malolo Island Resort and Likuliku Lagoon Resort will be closed from March 31.

Owner and Managing Director, Tony Whitton, confirmed that the award winning resorts would reopen on August 1.

Mr Whitton, in an interview yesterday said that since Friday they have had meetings with their staff from the resorts.

“I think yesterday (Friday) would have to be one of the worst that I’ve ever encountered in my 30 years in the tourism industry.

“Its obviously very heart-breaking, we have close to 280 employees who would all have to be on stand down and they will all be on leave without pay.”

However, Mr Whitton said they would have a core team of about 20 on the properties.

“Everyone finishing by March 21 have been given full pay, up till the 15th of April.

“Normally, some businesses close and people are just laid off but for us it’s different, we have given them two weeks’ continuity payment to assist them and to help them over this time.

“We are hoping that we will be able to call them back in July.

“It’s heart-breaking.

“Our key message is we are going to be doing everything possible to reopen on the 1st of August.

“We really just had two choices here, the first choice is to carry on, in which case then our businesses would cease to exist.

“Or take some measures now to ensure that they have jobs in a few months’ time.”

He said he is proud of his hardworking staff who are truly a team.

Likuliku Lagoon Resort is a luxury for adults only and reserved exclusively for guests in-residence at the resort.

Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort

Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort general manager Darren Shaw said the situation is very fluid, as they have implemented a new plan or strategy, our environment changes.

“We need to continue to quickly adapt to change,” Mr Shaw said.

“Our occupancy is fast dropping due to early check outs, minimal new bookings and cancelations.

“Our team members are working with reduced rosters and utilising all annual leave and rostered time off.”

The company has also provided hosts annual leave in advance to support in the short term.

“Our management team are assisting with salary reductions in terms of additional time off without pay.

“Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort will continue to operate on reduced services until further change.”

He added the Outrigger Vuvale continues to support each other during these challenging times.

Tanoa Group

Tanoa Group area general manager Narend Kumar said their staff are working on reduced hours from 40 to 32.

Tanoa Group encompasses the Tanoa Apartments in Nadi, Tanoa International Hotel Nadi, Tanoa Skylodge Hotel Nadi, Tanoa Plaza Hotel Suva, Tanoa Waterfront Hotel Lautoka and Tanoa Rakiraki Hotel Rakiraki.

Mr Kumar said they wanted to close Tanoa Waterfront Hotel Lautoka temporarily because of the Lautoka City situation.

This was a result of the confirmed coronavirus cases.

He said they have had to open their doors after the Ministry of Health had requested them to cater for their staff who live outside the boundary of Lautoka because they could not return home.

“All executives from all our properties are treated the same as our other staff; everyone is on reduced hours.

“However, staff have been asked to take annual leave.

“We have our in-house policies in place to control movements.

“In terms of screening staff and guests have been asked about their travel history upon check-in.

“We are strictly following the guidelines set by Ministry of Health.

“At the moment the industry is suffering, we are trying our best to keep our staff engaged.

“Maintenance staff are engaged in vegetable gardens.”

He noted that their staff came first, they are well equipped with protective masks, gloves, sanitizers etc.

“We also do staff body temperature checks and anyone sick has been asked to stay home.

“For guest and staff, we have our contingency plans in place, we have allocated separate block of rooms should there be any symptoms.”

Tanoa Waterfront Hotel at Lautoka.

Tanoa Waterfront Hotel at Lautoka.

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

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