SUNBIZ

Let’s Go Local: Resort Bar Manager Happy To Serve Guests

Three days before Plantation Island Resort opened, Maikali Nawaqavanua, the bar manager, surprised other staff when he went to work wearing his uniform. Such was the excitement in the Namotomoto
30 Jun 2020 13:37
Let’s Go Local: Resort Bar Manager Happy To Serve Guests
From left: Plantation Island Resort Food and Beverage manager Percy McIndoe and Bar manager Maikali Nawaqavanua. Photo: Charles Chambers

Three days before Plantation Island Resort opened, Maikali Nawaqavanua, the bar manager, surprised other staff when he went to work wearing his uniform.

Such was the excitement in the Namotomoto villager and his eagerness to get back to work after not been able serve up his special mixes to tourists because of the catastrophe caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reopening

The resort reopened its doors on Friday, June 26 to the local market and became a hit with the 60 guests, mainly made up of expatriates working in Suva who had spent the weekend there.

“I woke up on Tuesday (last week) and was excited with the reopening of the resort on Friday and decided to wear my uniform before coming to make sure the bar was all set up nicely,” he said.

“I looked around as I was coming to the Tavola restaurant and noticed other staff who were rostered to work the weekend also wore their uniforms and this made us feel really good as the hotel had closed in March.

“We were so excited that guests were coming and even though it was not the usual number, there was laughter along with the childrens’ presence that made it special,” Mr Nawaqavanua said.

The 36-year-old, former employee of Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa, also worked at Radisson Blu and Hilton Fiji Beach Resort and Spa has been with the Plantation for two years now.

“I was out of work for four months and only started two weeks ago.

“I spent time looking after my family by providing from our plantation.

“The company also offered leave with pay which was spread over so many weeks, this gave me something every week.”

Locals enjoying the immaculate beach and sea at Plantation Island Resort on June 27. Photo: Charles Chambers

Locals enjoying the immaculate beach and sea at Plantation Island Resort on June 27. Photo: Charles Chambers

Staff as family

Mr Nawaqavanua said the staff, who regard themselves as a family on the island, had talked about trying to get work again but at the same time thinking of the many unfortunate tourism workers still out of work.

“I feel sorry for those who were paying rent and not as fortunate as us who live in the village and have land to plant.

“I just don’t know how they are surviving during these hard times.”

He said he was happy the resort made the decision to reopen as there was a need to get the message out that Fiji was free of coronavirus and the country was a safe place.

“My message to everyone is to pray as God is the only one who can help us during these times,” he said.

Feedback: charles.chambers@fjisun.com.fj

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