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Samal’s prime resorts ready for new tourism landscape

By Maya M. Padillo, Correspondent

WHILE THE travel industry continues to be squeezed by coronavirus-prompted restrictions, two of Samal island’s pioneer prime resorts have adopted changes to cater to the transformed tourism landscape.

Chema’s By The Sea, for one, has tapped Discovery Hospitality Corp. (DHC) for its allied services on reshaping operations given new health protocols and service standards.

DHC provided Chema’s owner, Poseidon Holdings Corp., with expert guidance on modifications for food and beverage, using information technology and digital marketing, human resources, housekeeping, and operational management.

DHC Senior Vice-President and Head of Sales and Operations Cathy Nepomuceno said the company is not taking over the management of Chema’s. 

“The project is just to provide assistance to the new team in terms of re-opening,” she said.

DHC will be managing the upcoming Discovery Samal through an agreement with Samal Shores, Inc. The resort, which will be located on a five-hectare complex, is expected to open next year.

Chema’s, a quaint resort that is also known for its gardens, has started offering day trips, apart from overnight, weekend or long-stay holidays.

“Spending days at Chema’s By The Sea is just heartwarming… For us, it’s all about setting the direction and build the essence of the resort through the different individuals that make up this resort,” DHC Chief Operating Officer and Discovery World Corp. President Jose Parreño said in a statement.

Chema’s has cottages and bigger cabin-type accommodations for groups and families, all with exclusive spaces. It provides boat transfers from Davao City, which is just a 10-minute ride.

Pearl Farm Beach Resort, one of the first top-end destinations in Samal, is using technology as part of its recalibrated operations to ensure the observance of health safety standards. 

The resort of the Floirendo family’s ANFLOCOR group now has a “virtual concierge,” which handles food orders and requests for assistance by guests.

“We started the applications… to prevent physical interaction, using a QR code for a contactless transaction,” Pearl Farm Vice-President and General Manager Josu Mikel Villaverde said in an interview.

Mr. Villaverde said one of the biggest advantages of the resort — and beach destinations in general — is that they offer nature and outdoor activities. 

“It is outdoor and there is nothing safer than this kind of set up. You just open a door and you are in a room and open a sliding door and you are outside already. Refreshing natural ventilation,” he said.

“The risk is minimal when you are with nature,” he added.

Pearl Farm, located further southwest of Samal, is a 45-minute boat ride from the company’s own marina in Davao City.

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