The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the hospitality industry in Thailand, where tourism is an important economic factor, particularly hard.
For the eco-boutique hotel on Phi Phi Island, sustainability also means protecting the workforce and the local community. The management of the resort decided to close the hotel on March 26, 2020, to allow employees to travel home before a lockdown. Due to Florian Hallerman’s quick action, it was possible to send all employees home except for the emergency team before Thailand stopped all travel. This was good for both the employees and the hotel.
As a result, expenses for meals, electricity, water, sewage and even TV channels and WIFI were reduced significantly.
With the help of the Thai government, hotels were able to send their employees on vacation and pay them up to 62% of their regular salary with additional loans bridged the time until the first social security payment. All employees were therefore still able to provide for their families. In a joint staff vote, it was decided to dissolve the existing pension fund and pay it out to the employees so that another 3 months of payments could be secured. The small team that had stayed in the hotel took care of the hotel, the equipment and the jungle garden. Unfortunately, even the Zeavola could not avoid dismissals, 21 employees were dismissed in accordance with the applicable labor laws. Some of them took early retirement and received the full compensation package according to their years of service. Through the Thai social security system, many of them received compensation for 6 months, which gave them the opportunity to find alternative work during the upcoming travel season. The Sea Gypsy community was also affected by the lockdown. As the school was closed, Zeavola stopped the weekly meal for school children and teachers. However, the community was still supported by monthly rice contributions.