Oman’s recent lockdown has ‘immense impact on revenues’ for hoteliers

Published: 21 October 2020 - 6:15 a.m.
By: Josh Corder
Oman, like many nations across the Middle East, has struggled to keep hospitality businesses in the green in 2020.

International flights coming to a standstill, tens of thousands of expatriates leaving the country and historic lows for hotel revenues have left many Sultanate hoteliers reeling.

When news broke earlier this month that the country was entering a lockdown for the majority of October 2020, things weren’t looking much better for hotel professionals. And while everyone supports the curfew in keeping people safe, it has still had an impact on business.

General manager of the Hormuz Grand Muscat, A Radisson Collection Hotel and Radisson Hotel Group district director for Oman, Panos Panagis said: “We support the decision of the currently imposed lockdown and our immediate priority has been and continues to be the safety of our guests, team members and partners.

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“Even though it has immensely impacted the revenues especially in the food & beverage outlets due to limited operating hours, we managed to focus on our in-room dining, wellness and staycation/daycation offerings,” he told Hotelier.

Despite the 8pm to 5am curfew, the GM told us that his hotels have been seeing improvements in recent weeks. “We have all had to adapt and act together as a global community for the health and safety of our neighbours, families and friends. That said, our hotels in Oman have started to see a positive improvement over the past few weeks from previous months’ lockdown and we are optimistic to overcome this curfew, as it reminds everyone to cautiously adhere the restrictions and regulations.”

The general manager of Salalah Rotana Resort & Spa, Stefan Thumiger, says by controlling the virus now, hotels will be put in a better position for the upcoming peak winter season.

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"We support this proactive action from the authorities as a necessary step in decreasing the number of infections. We are confident that the two-week restriction will help in the reduction of cases to safe levels with minimal impact on everyday life, which is crucial for the hospitality sector as peak winter tourism season fast approaches,” he explained.

Existing hygiene protocols enacted before the lockdown are helping hoteliers stay afloat during lockdown. Thumiger added: “The wellbeing of our guests and colleagues remains our top priority. Our adherence to the Rotana Safe Space programme provides a secure setting within our resort, while ensuring the guest experience is not compromised.

“Guests can continue to spend their time within a comfortable and protected environment thanks to the socially distanced nature of our expansive resort that comprises 422 rooms facing outward. In addition, the impact on guests will be minimal as travel to and from the airport is exempt from the curfew. Those staying with us are taking advantage of our swimming pool, in-room dining, private terraces, and gardens."

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Accor hotels in the Sultanate are confident hygiene measures will keep a loyal customer base coming in. Novotel Muscat Airport GM, David Faull said, “Novotel Muscat Airport continues to operate as the safety of our guests and team members remains our top priority. We are working closely with local authorities to ensure we are fully compliant with local regulations, alongside the implementation of our Accor ALL Safe program, which was created alongside Bureau Veritas.”

The night-time curfew will stay in place until October 24, with all residents of the country needing to remain in their homes from 8pm to 5am. The curfew applies to both the public and to commercial outlets.

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