The InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) on Monday said it was mulling permanent closure of its Nairobi branch over adverse effects of the coronavirus pandemic on its operations.
In a notice to its staff, the Hotel which has been in the country for more than five decades issued its staff with a notice of redundancy.
“We hereby give you 45 days’ notice of the hotel’s intention to declare your position redundant. Please note that we have set up communication channels to address any issues arising,” the letter read in part.
“We write to inform you that Intercontinental Hotels Corporation Limited (Kenya Branch) is for operational reasons considering a permanent closure of the Intercontinental Nairobi and winding up all its operations in the Republic of Kenya.”
The management closed the 389-bed hotel in early April after the government announced stringent measures to curb the spread of the virus including the ban on social gatherings and air travel.
Following the closure of the luxurious hotel located at the heart of Kenya’s capital, the management provided each employee with a one-off care payment to help them pull through the financial pressure occasioned by the pandemic.
In the notice to all its employees, the management stated that it intended to reopen in July but the prevailing circumstances including uncertainty around the pandemic and movement restrictions forced the leadership to suspend the plans.
“Faced with the most challenging environment our industry has ever seen. We have had to conduct a wide-ranging review to protect our global business for the long-term. One aspect of this review includes an assessment of the long-term future of each of our hotels; particularly those which have had to close temporarily in response to the economic conditions caused by the pandemic,” it added.
InterContinetal is a five-star hotel strategically next to Parliament Buildings and KICC inside the Central Business District (CBD).
The impact on Kenya’s tourism industry has been crippling with over 15 million Kenyans directly and indirectly affected by the pandemic and loss of business.
In June, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that the government will be channeling an initial Sh2 billion stimulus package for the Tourism and Hospitality Sector to cushion it from the harshness of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The President had already announced a Sh2 billion package for the sector while outlining his Eight Point Sh53.7 billion Stimulus Package for the Kenyan economy a week before.
The money was set aside to rescue the sector that has borne the biggest brunt of the pandemic besides the aviation sector.