Top hotels running out of fuel, food stockHotels are running out of fuel and food stock due to supply bottlenecks caused by the prolonged Tarai unrest and unofficial trade blockade imposed by India.
Hotels are running out of fuel and food stock due to supply bottlenecks caused by the prolonged Tarai unrest and unofficial trade blockade imposed by India.
Hoteliers said if the situation continued for the next week, all the hotels in the Kathmandu valley would be forced to shut down.
The hotels, particularly star hotels depend heavily on fuel—diesel and cooking gas—due to extended load-shedding hours.
“Big hotels are worried. They don’t have enough fuel to run their operation,” said Yogendra Shakya, a hotel entrepreneur. He said food stocks too were depleting. “The supply issue has become serious as it may hit tourists if the situation does not improve.”
From kitchen to shuttle services and from room to dining, hotels largely depend on fuel. Not just hotels, camping and outdoor activities, lodges and restaurants all have been affected.
Hotels operated at hill stations surrounding the valley are the worst-hit.
BK Shrestha, president of the Hotel Association of Nepal, said the tourism industry was in a buoyant mood after August when bookings started to pick up. Although all foreign sightseers left the country immediately after the April 25 earthquake, the industry had shown some signs of revival after August. “But the Tarai strikes have dampened the revival hopes,” he said. Due to the severe fuel shortages, most of the hotels have started to cut their services, said Shrestha, who is also the managing director of Radisson Hotel. He said hotels’ occupancy plunged 30 percent this September compared to a year ago.
“The hospitality sector has shown disappointing performance during the peak tourist season due to a combination of various negative factors this year. But we hope 2016 will be better,” he said.
There are 499 tourist standard hotels, including 75 star hotels, in the Kathmandu valley. Five-star hotels recorded an average occupancy of 61 percent last year, according to Tourism Ministry statistics. Out of 523,453 room nights produced by the luxury hotels, 319,284 were sold.
The government statistics show the five-star hotels recorded the highest occupancy rates of 86.33 percent and 73.02 percent in November and October, respectively, last year—the peak tourist season. The occupancy was 53.46 percent in September.
Three four-star hotels recorded an average occupancy of 71.54 percent last year. Two-star properties saw the highest occupancy among all star category hotels. The ministry statistics show average occupancy of 20 two-star hotels saw 78.22 percent occupancy throughout the year.
However, one-star hotels had the lowest occupancy.
The ministry said average occupancy of one-star properties stood at 42.02 percent last year.