In Davao City, business sector eyes innovation to survive
DAVAO CITY, Davao del Sur, Philippines — After Marco Polo Davao announced its impending closure due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, more hotel and business owners in the city have started reviewing their plans as tourism-related establishments try to survive the health crisis, according to a local business leader.
John Tria, president of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc., said the tourism sector, along with retail trade and other services, had been badly hit by the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The pandemic originated in Wuhan City in China and spread to almost all parts of the world, cutting flights and prompting governments to impose lockdowns that limited travel.
Reeling from losses, Marco Polo Davao, the only five-star hotel and a 22-year-old landmark in this city, declared that it would stop operations on June 15.“Definitely, many other hotels will be revisiting their business plans and [will be] open to innovating … since recovery will take time,” Tria told the Inquirer last Friday.
His optimism comes from the continued operation of other businesses, such as fruit exports, telecommunications, business process outsourcing (BPO) and food-related establishments, amid the pandemic.“We have been seeing some restaurants opening delivery services and many hotels have continued serving BPO workers,” he said.
Pearl Maclang, director of sales and marketing of Marco Polo Davao, said the hotel owners attributed their decision to shut down to the pandemic, which suspended international flights and practically stopped foot traffic from the ensuing lockdown measures.
“The business decision is brought about by the ill effects of the pandemic and the uncertainties of the future of the industry,” Maclang said in a text message to the Inquirer. “Also, the priority is to take care of the associates while the company can.”
She said the “cessation is indefinite and the future of the hotel is also uncertain.”
“Currently, we can’t tell if the hotel will reopen after the crisis as nobody can predict when the crisis will be over,” she added.
After June 15, a team will be assigned to maintain the hotel and its equipment, while security personnel will secure the property.On its webpage, Marco Polo Davao honored the people behind its success since 1998.
“We extend our gratitude to everyone who has supported Marco Polo Davao for the past 22 years. We now look to the future with trust that we will all emerge in due course from this crisis in God’s time, and that we will do so with greater resolve and resiliency,” it said.
—WITH A REPORT FROM GERMELINA LACORTE
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