The average occupancy rates of the hotels in Colombo remained far below expectations during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2013, according to the Colombo City Hotels Association Chairman M. Shanthi kumar.
A number of star-class city hotels including Taj Samudra, Cinnamon Grand and several other relatively small hotels carried out expensive refurbishments targeting CHOGM 2013.
At the peak, from November 15th to 16th, the average occupancy rate was 55 percent. The average occupancy during 10th to 13th was at 30 percent and during 13th to 14th it was around 40 percent. This was far below our expectations, Shanthi kumar said.
According to him, the original expectation was that a minimum of 4,000 city hotel rooms will be occupied. I don t want to comment on the reasons, but only 2000 to 2100 rooms were occupied during the event.
A hotelier who preferred anonymity said, If it were not for the CHOGM, the average occupancy rate in his hotel at this time of the year would have been at 75 to 80 percent.
We lost a good Rs.80 million of business due to CHOGM, he noted.
Another hotelier who also requested anonymity said, most of the mega tourism events organized by the government and government agencies had been banes for hotels instead of boons. Some of the hotels are yet to be paid for accommodating IIFA delegates, he said.
The five-star hotels Cinnamon Grand, Cinnamon Lakeside, Hilton Colombo, Taj Samudra, The Kingsbury and Galadari were kept open only for delegates and they were unable to serve non-resident clients during the event.
The hotel rates prescribed by the government for delegates attending the summit were:5 star US $571 net, 4 star US $431, 3 star US $343, 2 star US $273 net and 1 star US $159.
According to Sri Lanka Tourism, the rates were based on the previous Commonwealth summits in Perth and Trinidad. The higher room rates were also designed to cover up the loss of business during the period due to entry restrictions for non-summit visitors.