Among the country’s businesses that were severely impacted by the global health pandemic is the travel and hospitality industry, affecting even the almost three decades old Makati Shangri-La Hotel, forcing it to temporarily cease operation.
This saddening report came after Shangri-La Group (Philippines) vice president for Operations John Rice sent a wire to Arthur Lopez, president of the Philippine Hotel Owners Association (PHOA), regarding the temporary closure of its Makati Shangri-La Hotel starting 1 February 2021.
“As part of the reorganization exercise, we will sadly be parting ways with a number of colleagues and we will be temporarily closing Makati Shangri-La, Manila from 1 February 2021 onwards,” based on the letter signed by Rice dated 20 January 2021, which the Daily Tribune was able to obtain a copy.
Prolonged recovery timeline
Rice attributed Makati Shang’s temporary shutdown to the “prolonged recovery timeline that has resulted in increasing financial pressure on the company here in the Philippines,” despite its priority has been to preserve as many jobs as possible for its teams.
“Owing to continued low business levels and having considered all viable options over weeks of consideration and deliberations, 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,” Rice said.
The Shangri-La Group likewise said it will continue to closely monitor global developments and look forward to reopening the property at a later date when business conditions have improved.
“In the meantime, our team on the ground are making the necessary arrangements. We are proud to have been a pioneer and a leading member of the community here in Manila and have consistently supported the growing hospitality industry and the community. We would like to sincerely thank you for your continued trust and enduring support of the Shangri-La Group over the years,” the letter read.
Compensation for workforce
In a separate statement, the management of Makati Shangri-La expressed its utmost gratitude to its employees, valuing their hard work, dedication and contributions, as it announced that all workers’ compensation will be paid accordingly and even more.
“Every effort is being made to support all our affected colleagues through this transition, including a fair compensation package that is higher than local statutory guidelines and extending healthcare coverage and grocery support until 31 December 2021 to provide affected employees and their families peace of mind during these uncertain times. We are also providing colleagues with career transition assistance to help them get back on their feet,” according a statement made by Shangri-La Makati spokesperson Cecile Weber.
In a Viber message, she said its Makati branch is the sole division that will temporarily stop servicing clients, while the Shangri-La branches at the BGC and Shaw will still continue operating.
Blow to tourism industry
Meanwhile, the Department of Tourism expressed sadness over Makati Shangri-La Hotel’s management decision to temporarily close its operations.