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OCEAN BAY HOTEL BLOSSOMS DESPITE GLOBAL CHALLENGES

Posted on 21 January 2013 by Amat JENG

Amat JENG

 

One of Gambia’s biggest hotels has been reported to making margins of improvement as total revenue reached D74, 493M ($2,244 500) in 2011 compared to D55, 842m ($1,693,737) in 2010.

Juergen Odenwald, the hotel’s general manager told the National Assembly’s Public Accounts and Public Enterprise (PAC/PEC) committee during an annual activity that the hotel’s Gross Profit in 2011 was D58, 989M compared to D42, 794M in 2010, while the Net Loss in 2011 was D6, 491M compared to D14, 346M in 2010.

He explained that the management of Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation (SSHFC) conducted a business study to appraise the viability of procuring the Hotel and redeveloping it into a five-star standard.

“The management saw the investment as a way of diversifying from traditional investment in Treasury Bills, bank term deposits, equity holdings, and housing to the vibrant hospitality sector which at the time showed bright prospects,” Odenwald said.

With the global financial crises, the hospitality industry of the Gambia, like many countries in the developing world, has also faced some daunting challenges: tourist arrival has taken a downturn. The country, which depends largely on agriculture and tourism, is everyday on the look for means of improving its tourism sector, hence the renovation of Ocean Bay.

Among the challenges he highlighted are; the World Economic downturn that has impacted heavily on tourist arrivals, the transaction cost of tour operators that affects the Hotel’s revenue among others.

“The management saw the investment as a way of diversifying from traditional investment in Treasury Bills, bank term deposits, equity holdings, and housing to the vibrant hospitality sector which at the time showed bright prospects,” Odenwald said.

He told the Committee that the Hotel was initially a two-star rating, and that it was the intention of the Management of SSHFC with the support of the government of The Gambia to completely transform it into a five-star hotel.

He said that it was in this light that the then managing director of Kairaba Beach Hotel was given the consultancy to direct the Emporium Construction Company team to reconstruct and develop it into a five-star standard. He then recalled that except for the main structure, the hotel was virtually stripped of everything and then rebuilt, re-equipped and refurnished at a cost of D393, 116, 184.

Like every other hotel, Ocean Bay’s main revenue generating departments are the Rooms, Food and Beverages Department which comprises of the Kitchen, Restaurant and Bars and the Conference and Banqueting Departments.

The hotel would continue to target clients especially from the United Kingdom and Europe and at the same time target the niche corporate clientele from the sub-region especially Nigeria and Senegal market for the low tourist season, he added.

 

 

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