Tuesday, January 12, 2016
45,000 new luxury hotel rooms in the next 4 quarters! For Beggars?
50% of the tourists to Sri Lanka last year stayed in the informal sector with many choosing their own itinerary, and booking the stays direct via the internet. Many were asked why, and the answer was that the rates charged by the luxury hotels were not competitive for the service they offered, especially when compared with other tourist destinations.
Package tours on the other hand occupied the luxury hotels at rock bottom prices, where the US$150 room was given to them by the hotel on a block booking system at about US$40 recovered the by the hotel per se after all their commissions are paid for, which only on an operational basis is cost, and on a overhead recovery basis is a loss.
The new hotels are constructed at today’s prices that require a US$150 a room charge just to break even, due to the high cost of construction, and high import cost of fittings to bring it to the standards that they boast of. Frankly, in a country that is struggling to find suitable staff to man this industry, this is madness.
Our new luxury hotels, be they the eyesores at the Weligama Beach (Marriot) that have ruined the landscape for miles around, will not have people with the needed service standard to call themselves even luxury. Our Hoteliers do not understand service standards, as for he old definition of 5 star, it is the minimum amenities that don’t amount to a hill of beans in today’s measure are useless the service is NOT star class, and you only have to ask Four Seasons what that means!
All this means one thing. Hotels will be empty, rock bottom rates will be charged, apart from covering monthly operating costs, new hotels will not see a positive return on investment for a long time, and the Country will be known for a cheap!!! Destination that costs a lot, no matter what criteria our hoteliers are looking at when they advertise the new travel destination lists that the various bodies over the world put out, for their purposes to look good.
Already tourists have complained that 35% of the time in Sri Lanka during waking hours is in a traffic jam or travelling in an uncomfortable bus, so they have little time to enjoy the sights. The only tourist who enjoys SL is one who just stays in ONE PLACE for 10 days, and is pampered in a super luxury resort and returns to their Country, having got his rest and recharged for work. We should then only concentrate in that area, max comfort, relaxation, tourism!
MAX COMFY RELAX REST TOURISM - Should be our slogan
We only have a carrying capacity for 1 M tourists now, so restrict advertising to high value, long stay visitors, with a minimum carbon footprint. We can earn US$10B from them, but with NO more hotel rooms of the devastating environmental damage they are about to cause. 1M tourists, each spending US$10K in SL is US$10B in Forex.