Interview Juan Fernando Gomez Carrascal, GM – Las Americas Hotel Group
VISIT LATIN AMERICA: Tell us how this crisis started for the group’s hotels and how you organized yourself to deal with it.
Since December 2019, we have been closely following what is happening in China. At that time, we did not measure the impact that this event would have on the world and on our hotel and event industry.
In February, the first postponements of reservations from Europe alarmed us. In Latin America, there were no cases of covid-19 yet and our operations were operating normally.
When WHO declared the pandemic, we launched the required protocols and reinforced our operational staff.
Currently, we have reduced our activities and give priority to the health of our employees and our customers, in compliance with the measures ordered by our governments and, above all, by ensuring the safety and health of our partners.
VLA: How and when do you see the end of this crisis and what measures have you taken to prepare for this moment?
As a company, we follow the guidelines of WHO and our governments, they will set guidelines for us which will be the norm for our industry at that time. We know that the reality of tourism will be different, we will be faced with a new system of travel and relationships, it is a challenge that we will have to meet.
From now on, and when the airways are reactivated, our cleaning and sanitation protocols will strictly comply with all the measures that will guarantee protected and safe spaces.
VLA: How do you intend to respond to this new request?
Our properties, in addition to being unique attractions in their destinations, are located in key geographic sites and offer gastronomic and cultural experiences in very favorable climatic conditions.
We are in hot destinations, close to the sea and the vegetation. These are properties that allow natural air circulation and facilitate the rest of our guests.
Our rooms have large balconies and terraces with magnificent panoramic views that are conducive to relaxation and social distancing.
VLA: You have one of the largest convention centers in Cartagena de Indias. What health measures do you plan to apply when reactivating congresses and events?
Our priority is to guarantee the success of the stay of all our visitors, whether on vacation or on a business trip. It will always be our goal. Given this new reality, we know that social cleansing and distancing practices will be a fundamental element in ensuring the safety of our visitors.
– We will respect the indications relating to the maximum capacity per event,
– We will ensure that our biosecurity protocols are strictly applied, in accordance with the law.
VLA: Do you receive reservation requests in your hotels and event and congress centers? for what dates?
Current demand is mainly for 2021. We have made agreements with our customers to postpone confirmed cases in 2020 for 2021. We have relaxed our booking conditions and policies in order to protect all members of this industry and thus be able to contribute to the revival of world tourism.
VLA: What message does the hotel group want to send to its customers?
We want to transmit to all a breath of strength and hope. We will emerge victorious and strengthened from this crisis. Even if today we do not see reservations or travelers, we know that the intention to know the world and to live new experiences will grow. In our confinement, our mind travels to the destination where we will go once we return to normal life. We will celebrate with our friends, employees, families and colleagues. The possibilities for our travelers will be endless.
We send to all members of this industry our fraternal greetings and our most sincere feeling of empathy and collaboration.
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