Tsogo Sun Hotels which also owns Sandton Convention Centre says the international travel ban and subsequent lockdown of South Africa in March sent into tailspin what is normally "a peak activity month for the group".
The group which has been forced to temporarily layoff staff, cut salaries and seek rent relief from landlords to stay afloat during the lockdown said all its operations in SA, the rest of Africa and the Seychelles has been "deactivated". The only hotels keeping the candle lit are the few designated as quarantine facilities or as accommodation for essential service providers and people waiting for repatriation.
As SA borders are likely to remain closed for longer, the hotel group is now counting on more movement between provinces, which will only happen if SA accelerates the easing of its lockdown, to save its finances from degenerating to chaos.
"Inter provincial travel is vital for the hotel industry and the group has been actively lobbying through industry bodies for the earliest relaxation of travel restrictions, so that we can begin to open our hotels," said Tsogo Sun in a statement.
Tsogo Sun said its hotels will likely be reopened in a phased manner once inter provincial is allowed. Some will resume operations immediately while many will open later based on anticipated demand. But other establishments are not expected to reopen for an extended period of time because they mostly rely on international travelers and conferences.
The group said it will continue to operate on skeleton staff for now meaning that those who have been retrenched or laid off may live with that reality a little longer.
Compiled by Londiwe Buthelezi