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Sterling Holiday Resorts to open 21 resorts in first phase

New Delhi, May 31 (PTI) Sterling Holiday Resorts on Sunday said it plans to open 21 of its resorts in the first phase as soon as it gets go-ahead from the government to resume services.

Currently, the company has around 41 resorts across the country and all of them are closed for guests currently on account of lockdown imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sterling Holiday Resorts said.

'We are all set to go about our services in 24-48 hours across our key resorts as soon as the lockdown is lifted. Sterling has put together a schedule for re-opening its resorts in a phased manner,' Sterling Holiday Resorts Chairman and MD Ramesh Ramanathan told PTI.

The activity will begin once the central and state governments announce green zones in the resort areas and the respective catchment areas, he added.

'The resorts that will be opened in the first phase will be at Goa, Ooty, Kodai, Mussoorie, Wayanad, Jaipur, Darjeeling, Mount Abu, Munnar, Lonavala, Nainital, Kufri, Puri. Sariska, Yercaud, Thekkady, Gurvayur, Karwar, Yelagiri, Palaveli, and Rajakkad,' Ramanathan said.

These will be followed by opening of the resorts at Agra, Gangtok, Manali, Corbett, Dharamshala, Kanha, Anaikatti and Srinagar, he added.

'We have ensured to maintain a skeleton staff across all our properties. This will ensure we have quick turnaround time when the lockdown is lifted and we can resume operations. As of now, we have three-phase strategy as per which we intend to open our resorts,' Ramanathan said.

In the first phase, the company aims to open resorts that are at a driveable distance from key cities, he added.

'In terms of strategy, we have developed a comprehensive programme called 'Sterling Cares',' Ramanathan said.

The programme is sculpted based on the guidelines by WHO, FSSAI and HACCP. Sterling Holiday Resorts has created an entire process that starts from pre-arrival and covers the stay until the check-out, he added.

The new, comprehensive sanitisation and hygiene regime will include guests, employees and vendors, with a set of protocols laid out for their safety, Ramanathan said.

When asked about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the way forward, he said: 'COVID-19 has slowed down the hospitality industry and businesses have shut down. All resorts have been shut down since March 21, 2020. So, we have lost what is possibly the best period of the year, which is summer, especially the period from April to June.' The next six months are going to be low in terms of demand, and only once the customer confidence picks up will the industry come back to normal, Ramanathan said.

'In terms of recovery, we have already begun to witness some green shots. People are coming forward and making bookings for July and some months ahead for September and October. This is a resilient industry and we have survived this trying time. Going forward, I foresee growth by Jan-February-March 2021,' he added. PTI AKT HRS