Hotel industry laments closure of Makati Shangri-La, hopes for its future reopening

The news of temporary closure of the Makati Shangri-La hotel is a sad development for not just the Philippine hotel industry, but as well as past guests who have made memories in five-star accommodation establishment.

On Wednesday, the Shangri-La Group announced the temporary closure of its Makati hotel starting February 1, as part of its reorganization efforts.

“Owing to continued low business levels and having considered all viable options over weeks of consideration and deliberation, 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,” the company said earlier.

While industry stakeholders are lamenting the closure of the hotel, they are also expressing hope for the reopening of the hotel in the future.

“We are sad about this development but hopeful that they will be able to resume operations in the very near future,” the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA) Philippines said.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Hotel Owners Association (PHOA) said it is saddened by news on the hotel’s temporary closure.

“It was a difficult decision drawn from the very uncertain business environment the hotel sector currently finds itself in,” PHOA president Arthur Lopez said.

He emphasized that the hotel industry has been hardest hit with the pandemic, with 80 percent reduction in tourist arrivals, affecting the overall financial viability of operations.

Moreover, the group thanked the officers, management and staff of the Makati Shangri-La for the exemplary standards of hospitality it has shown over the past 30 years.

“We also thank the Shangri-La Group for their confidence in the Philippines, having invested in several deluxe properties nationwide,” Lopez said.

“We are confident that in the next years to come, we shall see the Makati Shangri-La again in the Makati tourism landscape, and busy as usual,”he added.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat lamented the hotel’s closure, but also remained hopeful for its reopening.

“The hotel has been a pillar in the tourism industry and has contributed to positioning the country in the region and around the globe. We are hopeful that Makati Shangri-La will soon reopen its doors to international and domestic clients,” Romulo-Puyat said.

“Meanwhile, the DOT will continue to spearhead the acceleration of the recovery of the country’s tourism industry and continue to assist its tourism stakeholders, as it has done so in the previous months thru the Bayanihan 2 programs under DOLE and SB Corporation,”she added.

Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) president Jose Clemente III said Shangri-La had to do what it must to conserve its resources and we feel that we will see the eventual reopening as the situation hopefully improves.

“We wish them luck,” he added.

Shangri-La emphasized that to mitigate the financial impact brought about by the pandemic, multiple cost management initiatives have been implemented including salary reductions at management level, implementing shorter work weeks, hiring freeze and cuts in non-essential spending.

It added that in the past ten months, it has provided assistance for its rank and file to help them through these challenging times.

The company said every effort is being made to support all affected colleagues through this transition, including providing a fair compensation package that is higher than local statutory guidelines and extending healthcare coverage and grocery support until December 31, 2021 to provide affected employees and their families peace of mind during these uncertain times.

“We 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 arrangement,”Shangri-La Group Vice President-Operations (Philippines) John Rice said in a letter to the PHOA.

“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,” he added.