East Africa Hospitality Management Limited

Book ID 576

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East Africa Hospitality Management Limited,
Extract Date: 2000 June 15

Delay in sale of TAHI Hotels increases industry fears

" 2000 - East Africa Hospitality Management Limited.

It came as no surprise to many industry analysts when it was announced that the sale of the TAHI lodges and Hotels would not go ahead at the end of June as originally announced. In fact, most would be surprised to see if the delay of 90 days is going to be enough to effect hand-over to the successful bidders for the properties that include:

Novotel Mount Meru

Lake Manyara Hotel

Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge

Seronera Wildlife Lodge

Lobo Wildlife Lodge

Mafia Island Lodge

In the meantime, all of the Hotels are suffering a decline in usage by the major tour operators because of policy decisions running up to the sale. From the first of May, all tour companies were required to pre-pay for services at the Hotels.

'We used to bring over 1,000 clients a month to Novotel for Lunch,' comments one of the country's largest tour operators. 'How can you write a cheque every time you want to serve lunch. It is ridiculous.'

That company and scores of others have moved their lunch business to places like the Impala Hotel - boasting an all new standard of food service with their new chef - and the new Redds African Grill House.

In a bid to win back some of the lost business, TAHI dumped rates for June to as low as $18.00 per person half-board. Service concerns and the prepayment issue still kept tour operators steering their business to Sopa and Serena. It ended up with a situation where these competing lodges did not have enough space to accommodate the demand.

In the meantime, tour operators are worried that things will only get worse as the 'slow month of June' slips by and we run into our busiest season. And it does not end there. Accor, the French management firm, is scheduled to withdraw management from the Hotels on 30 June. Then, this ship that is already sailing over rocky waters will have no experienced captain at the helm.

Extract ID: 1528