Hotel industry forced to think long term
The Covid-19 pandemic damage to the tourism industry has forced hoteliers to think long term, a resort general manager said yesterday.
Bushara Bushara, of Newstead Belmont Hills Golf Resort and Spa, said: “We are all planning for the future. It's not about the next six months.
“It's about sustainability right now, keeping staff employed, and keeping staff motivated, and planning for a better day.”
Newstead Belmont Hills, on Harbour Road in Paget, reopened on July 29 after a four-month shutdown.
The property's 52 employees were laid off at the end of March, with the exception of a small number of management and security staff.
Mr Bushara said: “Pretty much everybody is back, but not all on full-time hours.”
A combination of cancellations and fewer advance bookings has affected the resort's visitor numbers, but Mr Bushara said that the property had some reservations for next year.
He added that on-island customers had given the hotel a boost.
Mr Bushara said: “We are fairly busy with staycations. We are seeing some tourists come in and we are starting to see better numbers, but it's predominantly staycations.
“For the next six months, staycations are the predominant market.”
He added: “We are very thankful to the local market. We will see more tourists come in as flights increase.”
Mr Bushara said the pandemic had made predictions on future business difficult.
He added: “I see green shoots ahead, but forecasting is very difficult because there's uncertainty.
“In the past, we had a pattern. We knew what the off-season looked like, and we knew what the spring looked like.
“Now, it's hard to predict and to see what the customer in a situation like this will do.
“It's the unpredictability that is challenging. Normally, there is a certain degree of predictability, and we like that, like all businesses do.”
But Mr Bushara — in line with others in the industry — said he was optimistic that May next year would herald better days for the sector.
He added: “I am cautiously optimistic.”