Tourism operators in West impacted by bad weather
TOURIST operators in Western Province are counting the costs after strong ocean currents whipped up by strong winds caused damages to resorts and other tourist establishments.
Our reporter in Gizo said the current weather pattern being experienced throughout most of the country is creating havoc for some tourism operators, causing damages estimated at tens of thousands of dollars.
One operator said Fatboys resort, just outside Gizo, has suffered damages, which may seem small to many, “but having gone through a year of covid, such damage is the last thing a business wants to take on.”
“Two days ago wind speed and sea current strength had picked up and the continuous pounding of the waves generated all day and night has shaken our bar and restaurant facility built out on the near reef bed.
“Both arrival platforms built on the east and west side of the restaurant were forced apart by the currents, resulting in one platform completely gone,” explained manager Manoj Dhari.
“The main structure of the overwater restaurant appears to have held up against the ocean force, but that will only be confirmed by an assessment after the weather has subsided.”
He explained that the arrival platform had only been refitted as is often done after a year or so to ensure the structure is safe, but now with the damage, they would have to start all over again.
Located on an island a few minutes’ boat ride outside of Gizo, Manoj explained that attaining proper hardwood to rebuild the structure will be costly as the hardwood timber had to be bought elsewhere and transported back to the resort.
“Throughout the last year, we like many other tourism operators were hard hit by the pandemic. But we have been fortunate to receive assistance for limited operational aspects of the resort that has ensured that we survive the global effect on tourism.”
“But the damages were not covered by assistance and would definitely affect our business strategy in the coming months.”
Other operators have confirmed that their business operations have also been affected by the bad weather, especially when combined with the king tide washing seawater onto their grounds as the tide rises.
Having experienced an unprecedented year in 2020, operators hope this will be the last sign of issues for 2021.
By TERENCE ZIRU
GIZO NEWS BUREAU