Thailand’s Minor International said it will reopen 90 percent of its hotels by September despite coronavirus pandemic raging outside the country’s borders.
Minor, founded and still run by American William Heinecke, operates Avani, Anantara, NH Hotels, Marriott and Four Seasons resorts in more han 50 countries. More than 80 percent of those were closed at one point, but Minor has clawed back to open 370 of its 535 hotels, or 69 percent.
In its July filing with the Stock Exchange of Thailand Minor wrote that its “strategy is to reopen progressively only those hotels, restaurants and lifestyle outlets that have sufficient demand to lift performance”.
In Thailand, where the government is spending more than 22 billion baht to pay domestic tourists to book hotel rooms and flights, the job is easier, especially as the Cabinet continues to add legal holidays to the calendar, such as this week’s bonus day to compensate the public for April’s canceled Songkran break.
Minor resorts in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Krabi will open in late August or early September. Meanwhile, 94 percent of the company’s 1,490 Thailand restaurants – which include Pizza Company, Bon Chon, Swensen’s, Sizzler, Dairy Queen and Burger King – are now open again, albeit with capacity limits.
In Europe, where the virus is now relatively under control, Minor will restart all its hotels in September, up from 73 percent of venues now. Resorts in the Maldives will reopen between October and December for the high season.
In China, a big restaurant market, more than 90 percent of Minor’s locations are open again with expectations that all outlets will be back to normal by September.
Like the entire hospitality sector, Minor was hit hard by the pandemic, recording a 1.8-billion-baht loss in the first quarter with sales falling 22 percent. Thailand’s lockdown did not begin until March 18, so second quarter figures are expected to be abysmal, as restaurants did not get the green light to reopen until May.
The company is now looking to raise 25 billion baht in new capital, saying in its SET filing its priority is to preserve cash flow and liquidity.