Basing on special reports conducted by a local media house, hotel and tour operators yawn for normalcy in order to revive their businesses to what they were before the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the C.E.O Uganda Hotel Owners Association Ms. Jean Byamugisha, hotels have not been able to get back to their feel since the worldwide outbreak of the deadly coronavirus.
Many hotel owners could attest to this as they kept on stating that things have failed to go back to normal since the announcing of the outbreak of the life threatening Covid-19 and shutdown of borders.
Mr. Nazzim Muwonge, the spokesperson for Pearl of Africa hotel disclosed that the number of their clients is still very low despite the fact that many of the restrictions that had been put by the government were lifted.
“Since lockdown, we have no business. Even after the restrictions were lifted, people are not flying into the country and yet most of us rely majorly on who come from foreign countries,” he said.
He went on to inform that the hotel has tried to keep on attracting attention by running a number of advertisements so as to draw people’s attention although even this is not working out in their favour.
In other hotels, the majority of their workers are still laid off since business has hardly gained momentum to ensure that it will be in position to facilitate their payments as stuff members.
The head of marketing Imperial Royale Hotel Mr. James Kasavubu informed that this drop in earnings is greatly affiliated to the restrictions on the tourism sector since that’s where their market comes from.
Consequently, they are not in position to accommodate 100% of their stuff which leaves them to survive with only 20% stuff members.
“Up to 80 per cent of our staff are still laid off because there is no business [income to pay their salaries]. At the reception, we used to have six people, but we have only one employee,” Mr Kasavubu informed.
Although the Covid-19 pandemic is primarily to blame for the current dilemma, Ms. Byamugisha partly blames the incapability of hotels to host election campaigns and also, media coverage during the election period.
“Unlike other years, hotels could not host campaign meetings but missed out on the business. Also the election chaos we always saw in the press discouraged a lot of the international guests from coming into the country. Covid-19 is still to blame,” she said. Additionally, she warns that the second wave shall only shake up the industry further.
In line to the current situation, Ms, Byamugisha said the only chance for business to thrive again is if we go back to normalcy and also if everyone gets vaccinated against the coronavirus as she said;
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“Our greatest hope for normalcy is in having everyone vaccinated. Our chairperson, Ms Susan Muhwezi, in partnership with Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) and other tourism stakeholders negotiated a stimulus package from the government through Uganda Development Bank and the European Union.”
Mr. Deogratius Muhumuza the founder of Uganda Eco tours also appealed to government to grant tour operators a tax break so that they can get an opportunity to revive their strength and bounce back on market.