Tanzania Tourism Sector Encouraged by Hotel Rehabilitation Project

The anticipated completion of a USD 24 million project to rehabilitate four tourist hotels in the Northern Tourist Corridor of the Tanzania tourism industry has already begun to attract competition in both the hotel and tourism industry and is expected to help further change and develop the industry.

The rehabilitation, upgrading and expansion project of four of the 13 formerly state-owned hotels in Tanzania that had been set up for privatization was begun last year.

The four hotels included in the project are the Lake Manyara Hotel, the Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge, the Lobo Wildlife Lodge and the Seronera Wildlife Lodge, all of which are owned by Hotels & Lodges (T) Limited, one of the largest hotel groups in Tanzania.

East African Business Week (EABW) reported recently that a senior official with Hotels and Lodges (T) Ltd. spoke in Arusha about the reputation of the company to rehabilitate hotels on the brink of failure.

“We bought the hotels which were on the brink of collapse and were in a dilapidated condition,” said the official, “The revival of the property has attracted competition in the hotel industry because our competitors consider our hotels and lodges as a threat.”

Keeping the current global financial crisis in mind, the hotel official went on to say that the Group’s plan is to not only rehabilitate the hotels, but to also increase their level to five-star standards and to also be the only hotels in the area with tarmac access roads.

Based on an agreement with the Parastatal Sector Reform Commission (PSRC), reparations to the hotels and lodges have been done in such a way so as to maintain the original character and look of the buildings and, according to the hotel official, over 80 percent of the rehabilitation work has been completed.

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“We have made the rehabilitation work as per agreement leaving all the hotels and lodges in their original décor and character and we have extensively used hardwood (mninga) and replaced the wooden shingle which was removed by the previous operator,” said the official.

The hotel official went on to say that a goal of Hotels and Lodges (T) Ltd. was to see the price of hotels in general decrease.

“Our rates are competitive,” said he official in the report by EABW, “and to attract more customers, we need to make sure the prices are going down.”

According to the EABW, last year the Tanzania Association of Tourist Operators (TATO) welcomed the business of the four hotels and lodges, saying that the country, in general, would be more capable of combating the global crisis by filling up the empty hotel rooms.