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Freeman Cebu Business

Resort rehires employees laid-off during pandemic

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  Plantation Bay Resort & Spa has started to recall workers who were laid off when tourism went downhill at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a press conference, the five-star resort’s general manager Cherry Allego announced that the management is now reaching out to former employees who lost their jobs starting July 2020, offering them their jobs back, although some have already found jobs elsewhere or started their own businesses.

While the 11-hectare waterpark property is still fixing the over P100 million damages brought by super typhoon Odette, it noted a recovering flow of guests both from local, and few foreign nationals, as well as corporate clients.

Pre-pandemic, Plantation Bay Resort & Spa had close to 500 employees. After July 2020, the 26-year-old resort let go of more than half of its employees, retaining only 100 people who stayed in the property to help for the survival of the business, and maintain the sprawling resort estate.

This early, the resort has rehired 42 employees. It also hired 77 new employees particularly in the housekeeping and food and beverage (F&B) departments. Now, the resort maintains a total of 358 regular and probationary employees.

At the height of the pandemic, Plantation Bay partnered with Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies to endorse some of the dismissed employees to land a job in call center. Others have also started to build small businesses and found employment in order industries.

Now that tourism is slowly getting back on track, Allego said they are recalling the workers, or they will be forced to hire new ones to prepare for the return of peak season, which is seen to start towards December.

From a total of 255 rooms, the resort is operating with only 157 rooms. The rest are undergoing repairs due to severe damages caused by typhoon Odette, Allego said.

During the two-year tourism slump, Plantation Bay diversified its business to canning through the introduction of “Plantation Prime,” and its “Call Us Home” assisted luxury living program which served as the business’ bread-and-butter during the pandemic.

Government Support

Now that “revenge travel” is starting to fuel the recovery efforts of all destinations across the globe, Allego suggested that the Philippine government should also support tourism establishments to attract foreign travelers by facilitation chartered flights arrangements especially to those countries where direct flight access to Cebu are yet to open.

“We are waiting for the Japanese [tourists],” said Allego, adding that arranging chartered flights for big markets like Japan, and Korea, would help accelerate full recovery among tourism establishments in the Philippines.

Moreover, a standardize health protocol should also be implemented to attract people to travel, a one system that promotes smooth facilitation.

With the opening of Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX), the resort is only 90-120 minutes away from Cebu City, and 30 minutes away from Talisay and Minglanilla municipalities.

“The opening of CCLEX is helpful for our recovering business,” noted Allego.

Plantation Bay Resort and Spa is a luxury resort in Cebu with one of the largest privately-owned waterparks in the world.

By December 2022, the resort targets to open all of the 255 rooms.

PANDEMIC

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