Dhaka hotels bear the brunt of pandemic | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 02, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:04 AM, February 02, 2021

Dhaka hotels bear the brunt of pandemic

Business for hotels in the capital was sluggish during the July-December period of 2020-21 as there were fewer events and programmes and a lower presence of guests.

But those located in places known for tourism continued to see higher profits thanks to people continuing to visit those areas.

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Among four listed hotels, a year-on-year increase in the profit was marked by the Sea Pearl Beach Resort & Spa, the owing company of the Royal Tulip Sea Pearl Beach Resort & Spa and The Peninsula Chittagong.

Meanwhile Dhaka-based the Unique Hotel & Resorts, the owning company of The Westin Dhaka, and Bangladesh Services, the owning company of Hotel InterContinental Dhaka, incurred losses whereas both had earlier been in profits.

"We were impacted initially but now we bounced back," said Md Alamgir, managing director of Hotels International, the owing company of Pan Pacific Sonargaon, Dhaka.

"Our hotel was closed for three months till June 8 as per the government's direction so we incurred loss in that period," he said.

"We started to book profit from October and it became enhanced in December, which will be higher in the current month," said Alamgir, also an additional secretary to the government.

"We are giving some promotional offers for bazar shop, saloon, swimming pool, laundry and food to attract people," he said.

"As there are a limited number of foreign guests so we are focusing on local guests," he said.

Responding to a question, he said a number of events like wedding and government programmes had reduced but now those were starting to be organised.

Hotels located in the capital faced a bigger impact in contrast to those in places visited by tourists, said Azaharul Mamun, company secretary to the Sea Pearl.

This is because people who were confined to their homes started visiting places when the general leave was withdrawn, resulting in a higher number of guests in hotels located in Cox's Bazar and Sylhet, he said.

As people's movements were limited to their homes for a long period, they immediately took the opportunity to go out for leisure, he said.

"When the country was under a lockdown for two months, we upgraded our hotels' safety materials with modern amenities to ensure our guests' safety from the pathogen," he said.

"We ran our marketing activities focusing the safety measures…and it had an impact on our performance," Mamun said.

Profits of the Sea Pearl doubled to Tk 7.29 crore.

"Our building is not a compact building but one that ensures fresh air so people had confidence on us," he said.

"On the other hand, our hotel is away from the sea beach so people think our hotel is safer," he said.

Mohammad Nurul Azim, company secretary to the Penninsula, said the Chattogram-based hotel registered increased sales of foods owing to a demand for hygiene from the well-off and middle-class in the port city.

"Our overhead cost also declined. Our directors stopped receiving remuneration from July last year amid the pandemic. The need for casual staff also declined and we keep them under an on call basis," he said.

"We also got business travelers from Dhaka and other parts," he said. 

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