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Scenic Hotel Tonga pulls down sign in shock closure

The Scenic Hotel in Tonga pulled down its sign this morning in an unannounced and unexplained shock closure of its Fua'amotu hotel.

An unknown number of guests are being relocated to other hotels and the Scenic's 25 staff losing their jobs in Tonga.

The New Zealand owned and operated Scenic Hotel, near Tongatapu's Fua'amotu International Airport was operating normally on Sunday this week. But since Monday, container trucks have been arriving and removing container-loads, according to Fua'amotu residents, who tipped-off Matangi Tonga about the closure this morning.

From behind the hotel's locked gates this afternoon, one of the hotel's Managers, Zeyn Buksh, said he could not comment on the closure of the Scenic Hotel Tonga. “A statement will be issued,” he said.

“We officially close at 6:00pm tonight,” Zeyn told Matangi Tonga reporters at the gates.

Zeyn, who has worked at the hotel for two and a half years admitted that he too was shocked by the sudden closure. The hotel had bookings for the coming weeks and months.

When asked if the Scenic Hotel had been told to leave by anyone, he said, “It's not the government or the royals.”

Most of the hotel's staff came from the local village of Fua'amotu with some from Nukunuku and other areas, he said.

“First and foremost is to take care of our staff.” 

He said they were looking for placements elsewhere, and staff were receiving “a decent amount of severance”. A few might be identified for job offers with the Scenic Group in New Zealand or elsewhere in the Pacific islands.

The Scenic Group acquired the Tonga hotel over seven years ago in 2011 in a joint venture between two New Zealand companies, the Commercial Factors Ltd. and the Scenic Hotel Group.

Constructed by Sam Wong in 1992 and originally named the Royal International Hotel, Fua'amotu became the Scenic Group's 18th hotel.

References to the Scenic Hotel Tonga have been recently removed from the company's website.

Meanwhile, the CEO of Tonga's Ministry of Tourism Sione Moala said he had not been advised by the Scenic Hotel about their closure but he had heard about it from another hotel.

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