The way the hotel business is going on now, it may take at least two years to recover the losses
The coronavirus outbreak has caused a loss of at least Tk75 crore to the hotel-motel and restaurant business in Bogura district. Besides, several restaurants and residential hotels have closed down, while around 500 employees have become unemployed.
According to the Bogura District Hotel-Motel Owners Association, 32 member organisations have lost at least Tk50 crore.
The way the hotel business is going on now, it may take at least two years to recover the losses, they said.
The Akbaria Hotel and Restaurant, which is almost 150 years old, incurred a loss of at least Tk8 crore in the last six months, said Md Hasan Ali Alal, chairman of Akbaria Ltd.
"Sales started to decline rapidly after the coronavirus outbreak. Though trading started a few days ago, Akbaria could not get back on track. Our business organisations are still at an average of 40%. The company has to pay a large amount of interest to banks to keep the businesses operational using bank loans," he said.
However, the company did not dismiss any of the 700 employees of the organisation. Instead, Akbaria Ltd was prioritising their nutrition and health protection, claimed Hasan Ali.
SM Delwar Hossain, managing director of four-star hotel Castle Soad, claimed a loss of around Tk2 crore in the last five months.
"To pay the employee salaries and meet other expenses, I had to withdraw a Deposit Plus Scheme (DPS). Though I reduced their pay to 50%, I did not dismiss anyone," he said.
He continued, "Corporate customers are not coming to the hotel as they have to stay in quarantine following the rules of every company. So, there is a huge loss every month."
Md Nazrul Islam Selim, the owner of Red Chillies Hotel and Restaurant and president of Bogura District Hotel-Motel Owners Association, said that he had to suspend 24 employees to reduce the loss.
"I have lost about Tk4 million due to the complete closure of the extension part of the Red Chillies Hotel. I also had to pay around Tk5 lakh on average every month for the electricity bill and other expenses, including the employees' salaries.
His business had lost at least Tk60 lakh in the last six months, claimed Nazrul Islam Selim.
"The majority of the 32 organisations on the list of Hotel-Motel Owners Association could not make any profit in the last six months. Several hotels and restaurants, including Look at Me, Tasty Bite, and Bogura Regency, have already completely or partially closed down," he added.
Nahiduzzaman Nishad, general secretary of the association, said his hotel - Rochas Hotel and Restaurant - had lost about Tk1 crore in the last six months.
"Immediately after the company's launch in 2019, 25 employees had to be laid off to reduce financial losses. But the company is still witnessing financial losses," he said.
The operational cost at Runner Plaza is high. Hence, the 16 restaurants, operated by men and women in the food court at Runner Plaza are in financial crisis, especially the women entrepreneurs, he added.
Tahmina Parveen Shyamoli, owner of Mandlin Café at Runner Plaza, said her monthly operating expenses were at least Tk1 lakh.
"Every business had to incur losses in that food court," she said.
Md Shafiul Azam Chowdhury, general secretary of the Runner Plaza Food Court Businessmen Association, said the food court's traders had lost at least Tk1.5 crore between March to July.
"Traders are still losing an average of Tk50,000 a month in the food court at Runner Plaza," he added.
Md Fazle Rabbi, office secretary at Bogura District Hotel-Motel Owners Association, said that he had to close Tasty Bite, one of his companies, due to the coronavirus outbreak. It caused him a loss of about Tk45 lakh.
Besides, one of his floors had to be closed because he had lost about Tk20 lakh over it.
Fazle Rabbi claimed that in line with the association's member organisations, the five-star hotels Naz Garden and Momo Inn and other hotels and restaurants, including Hotel Siesta, had incurred a financial loss of Tk18 crore.
Tahsim Abu Yusuf worked as the manager of Rochas Hotel and Restaurant for about a year. He lost his job because of the Covid-19 outbreak, so now he is looking after his aunt's organisation, "Fitfat" in Jalemboritola of the city.
Tahsim said, "I had to spend many days struggling. The money that I get from my aunt is insufficient for my wife and me."
Shahinur Rahman Shahin worked as the first chef at the Red Chillies Hotel and Restaurant. But he lost his job due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Now he works as a part-timer, and his income has reduced to around Tk8,000.