(MENAFN- Bangladesh Monitor) Dhaka: The only way the hospitality industry can survive now is the rapid rollout of immunization across the country. This will make the country virus free. As a result, flights will reopen and foreign business travelers will be safe in Bangladesh. Only then can business hotels like the White Palace survive the current crisis.
Md Jahangir Hossain Sohag, General Manager of White Palace Hotel, said this recently in an interview with The Bangladesh Monitor.
Sohag joined White Palace on April 1, 2021 during lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus. At that time, flights were closed and there were no guests at the hotel, Sohag said.
To stay afloat, Sohag reached hospitals and managed to accommodate the country’s front lines like doctors and nurses. Of the 48 rooms at the White Palace, 25 to 30 rooms were occupied by doctors and nurses from different hospitals across the country.
However, after a while, the frontliners no longer needed to stay in isolation. As a result, the hotel went back to zero.
Subsequently, once again, Sohag, as a measure of survival, succeeded in quarantining the White Palace for incoming aliens. White Palace then received incoming quarantined guests from the UK, the Middle East and Asia.
However, since most of the quarantined guests were our remittance fighters, Sohag said, White Palace supported the work by charging only what they could afford to pay.
Later, the hotel’s quarantine phase also passed and again left the hotel unoccupied.
You can’t survive like that. If this continues, many hotels will close their doors over the next six months, Sohag said.
Hotels like White Palace have a monthly expense of 60 lake taka. It has 55 employees. But there is no guest. The turnover is zero at the moment, sighs the general manager.
Therefore, a rapid rollout of vaccination to make the country free from the virus within the next 2-3 months is crucial. Only then will flights resume and foreign business travelers will enter. This is how hotels can accommodate their customers. There is no other way, said Sohag.
India and China are key markets for inbound business travel. There is not much movement from these countries to Bangladesh due to virus issues. Therefore, we need to facilitate travel from these countries to Bangladesh by making the country virus-free, explained Sohag.
Once the guests enter, they will take accommodation in hotels, they will eat in restaurants, they will take car services, laundry services, take advantage of all available facilities, said Sohag.
White Palace doesn’t compromise on security, Sohag noted. The entire hotel and its facilities – from the rooms to the lobby to restaurants and cars – everything is regularly sanitized, he added.
Unfortunately, the hospitality industry has received no government support amid the pandemic. He claimed the utility bills alone amounted to 3-4 lake taka for a boutique hotel like the White Palace. Therefore, the government could at least waive utility bills for a while, urged Sohag.
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