BUSI­NESS:

TANOA DATELINE

Fiji Sun - - Front Page -

HO­TEL IN TONGA TO OPEN IN OC­TO­BER

The Tanoa Dateline Ho­tel in Tonga is on track to re-open two months ahead of its Jan­uary 2017 sched­ule. The ac­qui­si­tion of the Tanoa Group is set to re­open in Oc­to­ber this year. Although Cy­clone Win­ston tem­po­rar­ily halted re­con­struc­tion, it caused lit­tle dam­age to the ho­tel. Ro­hit Reddy, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Reddy Group, par­ent com­pany of the Tanoa Ho­tel chain in Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and Auck­land, New Zealand was re­cently in­ter­viewed by Pa­cific Periscope.

Jour­ney into the un­known

Ren­o­vat­ing the iconic In­ter­na­tional Dateline Ho­tel in Nuku’alofa was a jour­ney into the un­known, Mr Reddy said.

“We knew it (re­con­struc­tion) would be dif­fi­cult and we didn’t know what we would find un­til the work be­gan,” he said. Although the orig­i­nal tim­ber in the ho­tel was not too bad, the un­treated tim­ber used by the pre­vi­ous owner was rid­dled with ter­mites go­ing through­out the ho­tel. “There were parts where you could poke holes through the tim­ber,” he said. How­ever, sim­i­lar to the group’s Tanoa Tusi­tala Ho­tel re­con­struc­tion in Samoa, they have re­placed all the in­ter­nal struc­tures and fit­tings.

Ev­ery piece of tim­ber, all the pipes and all the wiring has been re­placed along with all the tiles and light­ing, Mr Reddy said.

“We’ve only got one chance to get it right,” he said.

Bud­gets

The costs are higher than the bud­get ini­tially es­ti­mated. The new plan in­cludes a new pool bar and res­tau­rant com­plex, con­fer­enc­ing fa­cil­i­ties, gym and a new health and spa fa­cil­ity. But ev­ery step of the re­con­struc­tion was mon­i­tored un­der the watch­ful eye of com­pany founder, and the doyen of the Pa­cific re­gion’s ho­tel in­dus­try and Ro­hit’s fa­ther Yank­tesh Per­mal (YP) Reddy. “We couldn’t have done it with­out him,” says Mr Reddy Jnr – clearly proud of his 81 year old dad, who helped his brother Ram Sami Reddy, founder of the com­pany in 1947, turn the small con­struc­tion busi­ness into all it is to­day. YP’s years of ex­pe­ri­ence and knowl­edge in the con­struc­tion and ho­tel in­dus­try was in­valu­able for the re­build.

Re­con­struc­tion

But the road to re­con­struc­tion was not smooth. The Tanoa Ho­tel Group ini­tially com­menced ne­go­ti­a­tions for the Dateline Ho­tel in Fe­bru­ary 2014 but pulled back from the deal with the Gov­ern­ment of Tonga six weeks later. How­ever, the Gov­ern­ment of Tonga signed off an agree­ment with the di­rec­tors of the Tanoa Ho­tel Group in March 2015 to ‘ren­o­vate, re­fur­bish and man­age’ the iconic In­ter­na­tional Dateline Ho­tel by Jan­uary 2017. By Au­gust 2015, progress was well un­der way with photos posted to their Face­book page doc­u­ment­ing the process. Mr Reddy said plans are in place for the re­cruit­ment of 100 new staff by around June/ July. Fol­lowed by a two-month cus­tomer ser­vices train­ing pro­gramme led by Tanoa’s in­ter­nal train­ing team to­gether with Dr Semisi Tamoe­peau, Head of Arts, Hospi­tal­ity and Tourism Man­age­ment Pro­grammes, AIS St He­lens, Auck­land. Cor­po­rate trainees will be trained in Samoa whilst heads of depart­ment will re­ceive their train­ing in Samoa and Fiji.

Photo: PA­CIFIC PERISCOPE

Tanoa Dateline in Tonga un­der ren­o­va­tion... the un­treated tim­ber used by the pre­vi­ous owner was rid­dled with ter­mites go­ing through­out the ho­tel which has re­quired a lot of work now.

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