DAVAO CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – It’s official: Davao City’s lone 5-star hotel founded by the family of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has taken a hit from the coronavirus pandemic and will only operate up to June 15.
In a statement shared with reporters here, the management of the Marco Polo Davao said its priority in deciding to close shop indefinitely is “to take care of our associates while the company can.”
“All of you have been the core and our partners in building Marco Polo Davao. The owners and management will forever be grateful for your unconditional contribution. To all our friends in the community and our valued business partners, daghang salamat (thank you very much) from the Heart of Davao,” it added.
In a subsequent interview with local paper, The Mindanao Times, Halifax President Francis R. Ledesma said the hotel, built in 1998, is still catering to guests at the moment – including foreigners stranded in the city and those from the business process outsourcing (BPOs).
But Ledesma said that Marco Polo could not possibly sustain its operations once these clients leave.
“Living in a hotel (for BPO employees) is a big expense to the company,” he was quoted by the local daily as saying.
He said in the case of BPOs, they were only forced to house their employees in hotels as required by quarantine protocols.
Ledesma said all hotel employees had been informed on Thursday, May 7, and that they were also told that they would get their benefits.
Those on “retirable ages” will be provided retirement packages while others will get separation benefits.
“We chose to first take care of our people,” he added.
Ledesma was also quoted as saying the hotel could still reopen and rehire its employees but as to when, he said he was not sure.
“We will not know what will happen next. You cannot beat a pandemic,” he added.
John Tria, president of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the tourism industry had indeed been hard hit by the pandemic, and consequently, the 5 million people dependent on it.
“I fully understand why the Marco Polo Hotel has opted for an indefinite cessation of operations since there is a need to reexamine operations in light of obvious realities,” he said in a statement.
Tria said it might take longer for the tourism industry to recover even after the quarantines had been lifted “since people may not want to travel or congregate in groups for some time.”
“Nonetheless, as a chamber, we are working closely with various tourism stakeholders through our tourism task force to determine ways forward to recoveries, such as special financing and other programs, and innovations that will require adjustments in business models online marketing and other methods,” he added. – Rappler.com