In a statement issued on 20 June, Tsogo Sun Hotels noted the announcement by Marriott International that the hotel group has closed three hotels and are removing them from the Marriott system as a result of the impact of Covid-19.
Tsogo Sun Hotels stated that it also noted the distress this announcement has caused within the travel and tourism industry and the communities where these hotels are situated, as expressed on various social media platforms.
Marcel von Aulock, CEO of Tsogo Sun Hotels, comments, “The hotel industry globally and in South Africa is undoubtedly experiencing one of the most disruptive and difficult periods in its history and it will take some time to recover to its previous activity levels. With the recent announcement by President Ramaphosa of relaxation of lockdown regulations several of our hotels have opened but are operating on limited capacity and will remain so until demand patterns and flight activities in both the domestic and ultimately the international markets begin to normalise. However, we continue to plan for a phased reactivation of properties, with the full portfolio expected to be open within twelve to eighteen months and will now include these three iconic properties in our planning.”
Tsogo Sun Hotels, via its subsidiary Hospitality Property Fund, owns a controlling stake in the three hotels, with which Marriott is terminating its relationship.
“We remain committed to these properties and have full faith in their viability post the Covid-19 pandemic and are delighted that we will be able to bring them under the Tsogo Sun Hotels management portfolio and fully integrate them into our distribution and management network once the conditions for their re-activation are achieved,” continues Von Aulock.
He adds, “These are three great hotels. The Mount Grace in Magaliesburg was developed by the Brand family and was the sister hotel to The Grace in Rosebank, which we acquired and restored in 2015 and now operate as 54 on Bath. Magaliesburg is a beautiful area and has great domestic and international tourism potential, as well as strong demand for conferencing, weddings and shorter family getaways with its close proximity to Johannesburg. The Edward is a landmark on the Durban beachfront where we already have a strong presence.
“The hotel has a 111-year history, beautiful facilities and will add something different to our portfolio in that node. Lastly, Hazyview is on the key tourist route through Mpumalanga on the doorstep of the Kruger National Park. We operate the Sabi River Sun right up the road and are currently refurbishing the chalets and the golf course on this property. The addition of this hotel in the Lowveld area will allow us to broaden our offering for the local and foreign markets which will return to Kruger when things normalise” he continues.
In the short term, Tsogo Sun Hotels is working with Marriott and has mobilised resources to ensure the properties are handed over, secured and maintained while they remain closed.