Colombo city hotels confirm high occupancy

Monday, 24 February 2014 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Enjoy 70% growth in Jan, 24% rise in revenue
  • Occupancy in February shows 73% in 15 days
  • Tourist spending up 20%
The beginning of the year has heralded in good times for hoteliers, with the city hotels in Colombo recording a whopping 70% occupancy in January and 73% within the first 15 days of February. Colombo City Hotels Association Chairman M. Shanthikumar yesterday told the Daily FT that the 70% occupancy is a substantial number compared with the 60% achieved in the same period the previous year, when the number of rooms available within the city was far less than what is available now. “This is a very good indicator of growth in the sector, as the number of rooms in the city has increased in January 2014 with new hotels and accommodation units opening during this year. Yet, business at hotels has seen a substantial increase,” Shanthikumar said. With February occupancy standing at 73% by the 15th of the month, hoteliers are expecting the month to bring in higher occupancy than January. The occupancy rise has come from all segments of the market, including the events and conference market, holiday travellers and business travellers. In January, the largest group of tourists hailed from Western Europe with 46,301 in all followed by South Asia with 28,392 tourists and East Asia 25,823. Country-wise the largest number of tourists were recorded coming from India (17,886), followed by the UK (12,896) and China (10,776). “Most importantly, the occupancy growth comes amidst the much debated minimum rate introduced by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2009,” Shanthikumar added: “Colombo city hoteliers appreciate and thank the President for this intervention which has brought positive results to the sector.” He also acknowledged Sri Lanka Tourism Chairman Bhashwara Gunarathna’s efforts in promoting the destination internationally as having brought greater awareness among overseas travellers, drawing them to Sri Lanka. “Sri Lanka Tourism has come out with a number of promotional campaigns both in the emerging markets – China, Russia, Middle East, etc. – and feeder markets – Europe, Germany, France, India, etc. This has tremendously helped increase the city occupancy.” Shanthikumar also added that in 2013 the number of hotel rooms operational in Colombo was 2,600 whereas this year, there were 3,700 accommodation units this January. Last year The Kingsbury was closed down for renovations in January, which left 250 potential rooms out of the picture. However, this year few hotels such as the three-star hotel Mirage and four-star hotel Sunhill down Marine Drive opened up, along with a number of small units down Marine Drive, etc. At the end of this year, Colombo will see an additional 805 rooms included in the room inventory with Hyatt, Ozo and City Hotel opening up. Hyatt will add in 400 rooms, Ozo – to be opened in June – will add 155 and City Hotel in Colombo 3 will bring in 250 rooms. Commenting on revenue and tourist spending, he disclosed that the former has grown by 24% in January compared to the same period in the previous year. “Growth in January 2013 over 2012 was only 9%,” he added. Tourist spending in the city has increased by approximately 20%. Due to the high occupancy, hotel staff has also been able to take home high service charges as well, Shanthikumar added.