Hotel Sector Hopes to Recover from Credit Crunch in 2010

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The hotel and hospital sector in Uganda is hoping for a better year in 2010.
Last year, the hotel industry, which depends largely on foreign tourists, incurred heavy losses because of the global financial downturn. Fewer tourists visited Uganda and many hotels were forced to lay off staff to curb the losses.
Hannington Khanyola, General Manager of Grand Imperial Hotel in Kampala, says the Christmas and New Year's holiday were particularly hard hit. He says local tourism during this time is usually low, but is buoyed by the number of foreign nationals visiting the country. This year the number of visitors dipped and the hotels struggled to keep afloat.
Khanyola says that the Grand Imperial relies on its restaurants to attract business this holiday.
Raphael Onyango, Operations Manager of Holiday Express Hotel, says in previous years the hotel had an average room occupancy of 90 percent over the Christmas season. This year, it dropped to just 60 percent.
In Fort Portal town, Cornerstone Hotel on Ruhandinka Street has also had a hard year.
The hotel manager, Emmanuel Matwa says his establishment opened in 2009 with hope of a good year. However it registered only 15 percent of expected clientele.
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Collins Kasozi, the Operations Manager of Mountains of the Moon Hotel, says that unlike hotels in Kampala, the end-of-year holidays are good for upcountry establishments. He says that with many people leaving the city for the celebrations, he was able to recover some of the losses made early this year.
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Yusuf Ndawula, the Duty Manager at Protea Hotel in Kampala, says his hotel wasn't as lucky as those in Fort Portal. His clientele dropped down to 10 percent over the holidays. He says he is looking forward to a recovery once the business year begins in earnest.