BY BERNADETTE H. CARREON
KOROR, Palau — One of the republic’s premier hotels, the Palau Pacific Resort is closing temporarily as it copes with the financial fallout of the COVID-19.
“After months of coping and doing our best to survive through the Covid-19 pandemic, a difficult decision was made by our corporate owners and management to temporary close the Palau Pacific Resort and The Pristine Villas and Bungalows,” according to a statement sent to the Journal on June 17.
PPR is temporarily closing from June 15 to Sept. 30.
Lucy Sugiyama, PPR General Manager said the resort plans to re-open on October 1.
“This is a tentative date depending on the airline accessibility and travel restrictions,” she said. “We take this opportunity to extend our sincerest appreciation to all of our customers, suppliers’ supporters around the globe and the community at-large here at home for all the support and partnership in the last 35 years.,” the PPR statement said.
Sugiyama said PPR employs 260 people and 75 % of them are citizens.
She said PPR had to temporarily let go of its Palauan employees, while keeping a small number of foreign employees for maintenance at the hotel during the closure.
The foreign employees have also availed of the pandemic assistance given by the Palau government.
“In time when things get better, we will bring them back,” Sugiyama said.
She said Palauan employees had sought reemployment and help from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act that provides Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefits.
Sugiyama said with “zero flights, zero tourists,” PPR cannot remain open. She said domestic tourism is not enough to recoup costs. “We can’t rely on the local market,” she said.
She said PPR’s sales and marketing will continue to take future inquiries and room reservations will continue t for bookings from Oct. 1 onwards.
Elilai Spa by Mandara and the Splash Dive Center will remain open while PPR’s pier access will be closed. Recreational facilities will continue for Recreational Club Members.