By Ismail Warsame
They aren’t competitive as they aren’t viable business in a small city hosting occasional influx of conference participants. Given their frequent vacancy and unacceptable low occupancy, one would expect that they become competitive in their price ranges and rating. That isn’t happening.
Nowadays, they have been hit hard by frequent travels of the State President to overseas trips and Mogadishu meetings for election-related issues. There is business in Garowe to keep the hotels occupied when the President is available in town. That is what makes Garowe different from any other town in Somalia – it is exclusively political town that can’t sustain itself economically without the full presence and operations of the Government of Puntland.
To attract customers, and especially those seasonal visitors when the weather is favorable to Garowe, hotels should revisit their pricing lists and develop short and extended stay packages to draw patrons in from other parts of Somalia and neighboring countries of Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti. Price ranges of $15-$100 aren’t competitive in this town, given the fact that most hotels here rarely secure half-full occupancy. Recommended price range is $6 – $25.
WDM has been receiving briefings on the issue. It has been confirmed that Puntland Government had direct influence on hotel accommodations’ high prices and costs of food through heavy taxation on goods and services. Here all hotels in Garowe are struggling to stay open. Hoteliers and the two levels of the government should talk over the issue and come up with an appropriate settlement. If that doesn’t happen soon, more Garowe hotels will follow the example of EYL PLAZA to close