The general manager of Ocean Bay Hotel and Resort Thursday revealed that his hotel registered total revenue of D74, 493M in 2011, compared to D55, 842 in 2010.
Juergen Odenwald made these revelations while presenting the Hotel's annual activity report and audited financial statements before the Joint Session of the Public Accounts and Public Enterprise (PAC/PEC) Committee of the National Assembly.
He also revealed 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.
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.
Financing of hotel operations
Odenwald continued: "Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation is the sole financier of the Hotel's operations. The Corporation initially provided the sum of D30, 000, 000 as operational cost following the official opening in July 2002 and over the years has been continually supporting the operations as and when the hotel encountered financial difficulties."
He also told the Committee that the business strategy of the Hotel is to attract clients both local and international to regularly utilise its facilities which includes 195 rooms of different categories and sizes, restaurant and bars, conference and banqueting facilities, swimming pool and beach facilities and other amenities for weddings and parties that would bring appreciable revenue to the Hotel.
"The Hotel'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," he explained.
He further explained that the human resource strategy of the hotel is to achieve success through its employees by delivering an excellent service measured through the satisfaction of its clientele and the generation of profits for its stakeholders, adding that the Hotel contributes to the national economy through the payments of taxes and dues.
The successful operation of the Hotel, Odenwald went on, is determined by many factors that are viewed by management as challenges that need to be overcome to ensure a smooth transaction to the operation of profits. 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, equipment in disrepair condition, the need to replace steel restaurant chairs, the urgent need to stabilise the ceiling and roof of the main building, the need to return the two cold rooms in the hotel's kitchen to order, and the need to overhaul the 1000KVA generator after attaining the maximum running time.
"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 stated, noting that a total of 7, 153 guests stayed in the hotel in 2011.
Odenwald further told the PAC/PEC Committee that following an official directive in August 2011, the management of the hotel was interdicted and in order to fill the gap, four experienced and qualified staff from SSHFC were deployed in order to provide an oversight and to strengthen the management team.
Lamin K. Barrow, a compliance officer at Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA), said Ocean Bay Hotel and Resort was found to be non-compliant with the Public Procurement Act and Regulations.
PAC/PEC members and subject matter specialists then raised questions, concerns, observations, recommendations, and suggestions, which were responded to by the Ocean Bay Hotel and Resort officials before the Report was adopted.