Dar es Salaam. Unpredictable hotel business in the country is forcing Ramada Resort Dar es Salaam to look for other potential markets within the East African Community (EAC) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) country states to raise revenue.
The strategy follows a decline in revenues occasioned by poor bed occupancy whereby only 50 to 55 per cent of income is generated from selling of rooms.
“This unpredictable turn of events started last year. For instance, in February last year the average bed occupancy was 40 per cent, but the same period this year has seen an increase to 75 per cent,” the hotel’s director of Sales and Marketing, Mr Bharath Swarup, told The Citizen recently.
According to Mr Swarup, this year 138 rooms were not occupied, slashing the occupancy to 65 per cent. He added that in March, last year, the business performed excellently, but the same period this year has seen a slight decline.
He revealed that the hotel is now targeting Kenya, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and South Africa, saying Tanzania has much to offer which cannot be found in those countries, but the target is to capture meetings, conferences, leisure as well as other businesses.
Speaking on business performance he said they saw 25 per cent growth in turnover compared to the previous year. “We have yet to finish our business report for last year, but business was not bad…but we must look for other sources instead of relying on local business,” he said.
He also revealed that this year the plan is to invest more in leisure and tourism because Dar es Salaam city has much to offer such as the beach, museum, zoo and shopping, to mention a few. Mr Swarup advised the Dar es Salaam City Council to form a local tourism board which would oversee the attractions within the city that could help hotels in attracting customers.
“The Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) concentrates mainly in promoting Kilimanjaro, Serengeti and Zanzibar, which are the key tourist attractions, but Dar es Salaam is a business hub with very many attractions.
A report by the National Bureau of Statistics shows that bed occupancy for April last year dropped by 3.4 per cent compared with the same month in 2016.
In April, last year, the occupancy rate was estimated at 23.5 per cent, there were 75,405 beds occupied out of which 49.2 per cent were by international visitors.
Recently the Hotel Association of Tanzania CEO Nura Karamagi told The Citizen the drop in occupancy rate was due to slow pace of tourists arriving in the country, adding that more effort were needed to increase the number.