Thursday, January 11, 2018

Hoteliers battle fall in occupancy rates

Hoteliers say to impress more customers, a

Hoteliers say to impress more customers, a number of attractions should be upgraded. PHOTO|FILE 

By Gadiosa Lamtey @gadiosa2

Dar es Salaam. Occupancy rates in hotels and similar establishments in Dar es Salaam have fallen terribly.

This is because the city centre has few tourist attractions, analysts say.

Also, there are few places in the city centre where they can spend their free time on buying goods from global brands or enjoying cultural and historical heritage.

A recent report by the National Bureau of Statistics shows that the rates of bed occupancy in April 2017 dropped by 3.4 per cent from the level in a similar month in 2016.

Hoteliers say some attractions require the upgrading to attract more customers.

Many hotels around city centre depend on customers coming for meetings and businesses.

Around the city centre, there are more than 10 famous hotels. They include Serena, Courtyard, Holiday Inn, Southern Sun, Hyatt Regency, Ramada Encore and New Africa. Most of hotels target visitors who come for meetings and businesses in Dar es Salaam.

“In three years, we operate at close to 50 per cent occupancy despite Dar es Salaam being a business hub and the financial capital. Tourist attractions can be developed for leisure and vacation travellers as well,” said Ramada Encore operations manager Saumitra Gaur. “That way, depending on business travellers alone would fall. The seasonality of the business for the hotels would no longer be an issue as the visitors would be able to come to Dar es Salaam more often for vacations.”

He said it was important to upgrade infrastructure, museums, zoological gardens and theme parks to attract visitors to Dar es Salaam who will also stay in its hotels.

Peacock Hotels operations director Daniel Mfugale told The Citizen that generally occupancy rates in most Dar es Salaam hotels dropped in 2017.

Although business at Hyatt Regency in Dar es Salaam was relatively good last year, sales and marketing director Denis Glibic said the lack of tourist attractions in the city was also a big challenge to guests.

He urged authorities upgrade tourist attractions and add new ones. “Last year was not bad for our hotel as we finish the upgrading of rooms and other areas. This year will be a challenging one as the government is shifting its base to Dodoma. But we will find a way to maintain our customers.”

Hotels Association of Tanzania CEO Nura Karamagi said the fall in occupancy rates was caused by low tourist arrivals.

She suggested that more efforts be made to increase the number of tourists.

“We are in discussion with the government to find ways of increasing the number of tourists. Unless the challenge is tackled hotels will lose.”