GEORGE NEWS - The effect of lockdown on the hospitality industry has been far-reaching. There is a ray of hope that the opening up of leisure travel within provincial borders could bring a bit of business to the George area and some local establishments have reopened in the hope of attracting their share of potential visitors to their doors.
Fancourt Hotel will be reopening on 1 September for intra-provincial leisure and business travel, according to sales and marketing director Peter Dros.
"We look forward to the other travel restrictions being lifted as soon as possible. We will also then be opening additional restaurants and facilities for our hotel guests and members. We have launched several great value domestic campaigns for locals and do hope to see some business pick up from our loyal South African guests in the coming months."
Currently, the golf courses are only open for Fancourt members, and one restaurant, Monet's, is operational.
Dros said the estate has not been immune to the negative financial impact of the lockdown. "We have started restructuring the business by looking at our operational requirements to secure the estate's long-term sustainability. To this end, Fancourt is in the process of consultations with staff and we expect this process to be completed by the end of August.
"We will do our utmost not only to support our staff during this difficult time, but to ensure the entire consultation process is handled with confidentiality, care, empathy and fairness to all.
"Sadly, we have had many booking cancellations, both conferences and leisure travellers, and have been doing our best to encourage our guests to postpone their bookings instead of cancelling them, which we have been reasonably successful at doing. There is still no clear indication as to when inter-provincial domestic leisure travel or international travel will re-open. Once the sector has opened again we believe it will also take several years before the industry returns to the 2019 levels again."
25% of rooms open at Oubaai Hotel
Oubaai Hotel manager Brian Ng-Yuk-Shing said only 25 of the 100 rooms in the hotel are available for bookings. Of the four restaurants only the Herolds Bistro & Bar is open. "I don't know what to expect in terms of visitors now that intra-provincial travel is open, but for the coming weekend it is going to be quite busy. Business is picking up, but it's not wow. It's better than nothing."
He said staff layoffs have not been necessary.
Hotel Possible group opens all but one
Of all the establishments in the local Hotel Possible group, Wilderness Hotel is the only that is still closed. The group owns hotels over the Garden Route area. Operational manager Leon de Kock said Wilderness Hotel will probably open only once inter-provincial travel is allowed.
Other hotels in the group, such as Fairy Knowe (Wilderness), Oakhurst (George), Oceans Hotel and Point Village Hotel (Mossel Bay), The Arms (Sedgefield) and Gourikwa Reserve (Gouritz) have opened.
He said no layoffs of staff have been necessary thanks to the UIF Ters benefits that have been extended to 15 August. "We will have to relook this after the 15th."
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