Tanzania: Covid-19 Outbreak Forces Hotel Breaks

(file photo).

THE global spread of COVID- 19 is understandably causing a huge socio-economic burden with its impact apparently hitting hard hoteliers in the country.

The deadly Coronavirus is now forcing popular hotel establishments in the country to close shop, albeit temporarily.

Sea Cliff Court, a four-star facility announced yesterday that it was forced to temporarily suspend its services to the general public in the wake of the deadly virus that has claimed more than 31,000 lives to date.

The Dar es Salaam-based Sea Cliff Court said in a statement it was making a 'strategic decision' to close its hotel and luxury apartments as of April 1 this year.

"It is with sadness that this decision has had to be made and we are aware that this will affect all our suppliers, guests and staff," read part of the statement undersigned by the hotel's Director of Operations Ms Ilona Kadri.

The hotel's management further maintained that it will closely be monitoring the current situation, revealing that it will re-open once travel bans come to an end Last week, the country's national carrier, ATCL, temporarily suspended all regional flights due to increased entry restrictions and lockdown by countries which entailed at preventing mass transmission of the deadly virus.

Meanwhile, the Serena Hotels which runs Safari Lodges, Camps and Resorts in both Tanzania and Kenya, also announced its temporary closure until June 15 this year.

The hospitality company which operates up-scale hotels and resorts in East Africa, Southern Africa and South Asia said it had never, in its 40-year history, seen such effects on the lucrative hospitality industry.

"We have been following the COVID-19 situation very closely and its emerging impact on our business model and portfolio in Africa... it is indeed impossible today to calculate the human and financial impact the deadly virus will have on the global hospitality industry," said the company in a statement signed by Mr Mahmud Jan Mohamed, who is the Managing Director of Serena Hotels Africa.

It added that as it continued to navigate such an unprecedented crisis and build on the company's resilience and adaptability, it therefore deemed it prudent to temporarily cease the operations of its popular lodges and camps, in Tanzania and Kenya.

The portfolios that will be closed in the wake of COVID- 19 include Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge, Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge and the Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge. Others are Kirawira Serena Camp and Mbuzi Mawe Serena Camp all of Tanzania.

As it stands, 95 per cent of the hotels in Zanzibar have temporarily closed shop as the world grapples with Coronavirus.

Speaking here last week, Chief Executive Officer of Hotels Association of Tanzania (HAT) Ms Nura-Lisa Karamagi revealed that some facilities were retrenching staff while others reducing salaries due to the unprecedented slowdown.

"There will be no visitors in the near future," she hinted. The Coronavirus, which started in China, has in recent days made its way across the continent, largely spread by passengers travelling across borders.

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