Sea Pearl Beach Resort and Spa in Cox's Bazar has posted an impressive profit in the January-March quarter while its peers in the country's hotel business are still struggling amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Sea Pearl reported a staggering 83% year on year growth with a revenue of Tk25.44 crore in the third quarter of this fiscal year.
The revenue of the company, which suffered a 78% drop in revenue in the April-June quarter of last year due to a 66-day coronavirus shutdown, has seen a six fold rise in the first three months of 2021.
"In the first quarter of this year, there were no restrictions on people's movement despite the coronavirus outbreak. Due to this, we got a good number of tourists. Many companies also had annual conferences in that period and most of them preferred our hotel," Company Secretary Md Azaharul Mamun told The Business Standard
"Our hotel has a larger area than other hotels in Cox's Bazar have. Besides, ours is also far from the chaotic environment in town. That is why our resort is the first choice for guests. But we did not get any foreign guests because of the pandemic. Still, our occupancy rate was more than 80%."
Mamun also said they adopted some strategies in terms of health safety during the pandemic.
"When guests arrive at the airport, we escort them to the hotel with proper sanitisation. If any guest has Covid-19 symptoms, we have a quarantine facility for them," he added.
The situation is not that rosy for other hotels in Cox's Bazar and Chattogram.
Chattogram-based Hotel Peninsula reported a 6% drop in revenue to Tk7.43 crore, and their net profits also fell by 62% to Tk0.52 crore in the third quarter of fiscal 2020-2021.
But in Dhaka, all the five-star hotels failed to return to pre-pandemic levels and posted negative growth in the third quarter of the current fiscal year.
Unique Hotel, which owns Dhaka Westin, a five-star hotel in the capital, reported a 45% year on year negative growth with Tk22.59 crore in revenue in the January-March quarter. It was 91% in the April-June quarter of the last fiscal year.
In the third quarter of this fiscal, the company incurred a loss of Tk3.11 crore.
A senior officer of the company, seeking anonymity, said Unique Hotel's business has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
"The main revenue of the hotel was from foreign and local guests of different corporate clients. But during the pandemic, demand has declined remarkably, mainly due to curbs on international flights," he added.
He also said that due to lower business, the company has applied to the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority seeking a nine-month extension to repay foreign loans amounting to $35 million.
According to the tourism ministry, other five star hotels are Radisson Blu Water Garden Hotel, Hotel Sarina, Le Meridien Dhaka, Doreen Hotels and Resorts, Renaissance Hotel Gulshan, Ocean Paradise Hotel, Sayeman Beach Resort, Radisson Blu Bay View, Grand Sultan, Momo Inn in Bogra, and Hotel Zabeer Paradise in Jashore.
According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), the hotel and restaurant sector posted a 7.28% growth in fiscal 2018-19. The figure was 7.13% in the previous fiscal year.
The business size of the sector was Tk7,300 crore in fiscal year 2018-19, according to BBS.
International hotel chains expanding business in Bangladesh include, Hotel Sheraton, Holiday Inn, JW Marriott, Swissotel, Hyatt Regency, Element Hotel, Saint Regis Hotel, Hilton Hotel, and Dusit Hotel. But they could not open their businesses in due time because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Unique Hotel and Resorts, Premier Hotel Management Company, Bengal Hotels and Resorts, Marium Group, Union Limited, and Peninsula Chattogram have inked deals with international hotel chains to operate their businesses and have invested more than Tk6,000 crore.