Dar es Salaam. Major hotels in Tanzania are temporarily closing down after a drop in occupancy rates due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Stake holders say should the situation take long to normalise, other hotels are likely to suspend operations in the wake of travel restrictions and social distancing rules imposed by the governments across the globe.
A survey carried by The Citizen online show Southern Sun and Onomo, formely Ramada Encore have already closed their doors.
Sea Cliff, New Africa (Four Points by Sheraton) and Serena Hotels still operate, but are already feeling the pinch.
Sea Cliff Hotel front office manager Moses Ojina said room occupancy rates have dropped by almost 95 per cent.
This, he said, had in turn affected revenue per available room.
“Room occupancy rate used to be around 80 and 90 per cent,but things have changed. We are no longer receiving new customers,” Mr Ojina
Mr Ojina said the Sea Cliff Hotel which has 115 rooms, is currently serving only seven customers.
Four of the customers are there after they failed to travel back home due to travel restrictions.
Mr Ojina added that the other three are on mandatory quarantine as directed by the government that all incoming passengers should be isolated for 14 days.
The performance declines were especially pronounced in hotels that cater for meetings and group business, which is a reflection of the latest cancellations and government guidance to restrict the size of gatherings.
Mr Ojina said the hotel’s two restaurants, bar and two conference facilities which accommodate a total of up to 220 people too, have been affected.
“We are currently not doing business, yet, operational costs including salary and electricity which accounts for 70 per cent of the costs have to be paid,” he said.
To cope with the situation, Sea Cliff Hotel Human Resources Manager Catherine Mushi said they will next week grant paid annual leave to their 90 out of 173 employees.
So far, she added, some 45 employees have started their leave.
“We are not busy because customers have stopped coming. It is my plan that at least half of employees from each department take their leaves,” noted Ms Mushi.