Terrible” and “absolutely dreadful.
The words used by one of Grenada’s leading hotel operator to describe the status of the tourism industry on the island since Covid-19 was first detected here in March 2020.
The hotelier told THE NEW TODAY that the sector is currently on its death bed in Grenada.
“We are fighting a rear guard action now. The industry is on its knees,” he said.
According to the hotelier, the situation was already “bad” when hotels started to re-open after the pandemic but it is now more than cause for concern.
He said: “If you had told me in April that we would have still been in a much worst less situation by the time January comes around in 2021, I would have said how ridiculous – it can’t possible go on that long.
“Here we are in January with not a glimmer of light on the horizon. I don’t know where we go from here,” he added.
The hotelier dropped hints that he will be forced to sever some of the workers because he has no financial resources left to keep them on the job for much longer.
He spoke of bills are coming in fast from the utility companies like Grenlec, Nawasa, the insurance and the suppliers of goods and services to the hotel.
“I am dried up, I don’t know which way to turn now,” he remarked.
According to the hotelier, the battle now is to pay the salaries of workers in a very depressed tourism industry.
“This cannot go on,” he told THE NEW TODAY.
The business operator pointed out that it is clear that the ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell is lacking a clearly defined plan to deal with the situation in the country.
He also said that presently, there is no dialogue with the government and hotel owners and operators but only directives coming out to them from the powers-that-be.
The hotelier added that government is hardly engaging them and for the first time in about six months, Health Minister Nickolas Steele had some kind of an interaction with hoteliers.
“He (Minister Steele) told us that the restaurants have to be closed – he said no fireworks (on Old Year’s night), no events, no nothing… it’s all no, no, no.
“There is no engagement because not a single hotelier including myself said a word. What can you say when the Dictator says you can’t do this, you can’t do that. If you do any of these things you will be closed. So what do you say – there is nothing you can say. It’s a disaster.
According to the hotelier, the ban on flights coming into Grenada from the United Kingdom due to the discovery of a new strain of the virus was “a blow” to the sector as well as the newly imposed 9-hour nightly curfew plus the directive for hotels not to offer sit down eating service.
“It makes no logical sense whatsoever,” he remarked.
On the issue of the decision by government to do an about turn on fireworks for Old Year’s night after permission was granted, the hotel operator disclosed that some of them lost a lot of money in making preparatory work to host the event.
He pointed out that one of the hotels even rented a barge as part of the setting up for the fireworks when it was stopped.
“We make a little bit of money from fireworks – not a lot. So instead of getting some money it cost some hoteliers because they had put money into setting up for the activity,” he said.
According to the hotelier, some of the operators might be able to use their fireworks at a later stage but some of them will definitely have to throw away their current stock.
He also said it is now unbelievable that the Prime Minister is seeking to lay blame on the hotels for the spread of the virus on the island when the government itself changed the Covid-19 protocols that were working in the early months.
Grenada currently has 130 positive cases of Covid-19 since the virus was first detected eleven months ago on the island.