NEGRIL, Westmoreland — Jamaica’s tourism sector continues to be hit hard with the continued closure of hotels due to the lack of forward bookings caused by an outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID 2019) across the world.
Merrils III in the resort town of Negril is one of the latest hotels to close its doors. The closure of the 57-room property has resulted in some 58 staff members being sent home last Friday.
Assistant to the hotel’s managing director, Delbert Tate told the Jamaica Observer that the hotel had lost some 27 forward booking rooms from Italy and 39 rooms out of Germany. In addition, the United States of America and Canada have recalled their citizens which has resulted in most of the hotel guests leaving the island.
“We are seeing, perhaps, [US]$60,000 of income per week [lost],” stated Tate.
Two weeks ago, Veraclub Negril by Merrils, which gets most of its bookings from the Italian market, temporarily closed its 57-room property which had resulted in 64 of the 76 staff members being sent home.
The hotel has seen losses from booking cancellation amounting to 2,542 bed nights or just over US$200,000 in potential revenue for the projected period of February 28 to March 31.
Tate noted that at the rate at which things are going, the group’s third property, Merrils II, may also have to close.
Last week, general manager of Veraclub Negril Michael Grandison had told the Sunday Observer that, “The situation looks extremely bleak from what I am gathering from an international perspective. It is gonna take a lot of Government aid to keep the business going until it can rebound.”
Last Thursday, Riu Negril, Riu Montego Bay, and Riu Palace hotels closed their doors. However, the hotel chain in a statement noted that Riu Ocho Rios, Palace Tropical Bay, and Riu Reggae would remain open.
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