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Study: Export diversification to come by 2030

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Sour is the new sweet: OPEC’s view of oil quality dilemma

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Stock markets continue to witness bull-run

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DT

Business

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SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2015

Budgetary steps under plan to expand livestock farming

Le Méridien opens tomorrow n Tribune Report

Five-star hotel Le Méridien opens in the capital tomorrow

SYED ZAKIR HOSSAIN

Hotels business booming n Ishtiaq Husain Hotel business is back on track after a threemonth-long political unrest, with losses in the first quarter now yielding to booming business. Most five-star hotels in the capital have gained momentum towards their business and see a growing future in the upcoming months. According to sources, five-start hotels enjoy 95% room occupancy while due to political unrest that spanned around three months the occupancy rate plummeted between 40% and 50%. ‘’After an apparent end to political crisis, hotel business is back on track and it is a very positive sign for hotel business. It is also a sign of roaring tourism trade,’’ said Kazi Wahidul Alam, tourism expert & editor of a travel magazine, The Bangladesh Monitor. Lots of foreigners are coming to Bangladesh in connection with mega projects like Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project, Nuclear Power Plants and upcoming metro rail projects, he added. “Even I failed to book hall room of Sonar-

gaon Hotel for a Next year event.’’ Salman Kabir, assistant director of Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel, said: “One of the drivers of business growth is the increase in foreign businessmen visiting the country. International cricket venue is also a platform for tourist attractions.” Currently, the occupancy rate in Westin Dhaka is around 100% while Radisson Blu Water Garden 95% and Pan Pacific Sonargaon 95%. Besides, four-star and three star standard hotels’ occupancy rate is also satisfactory. A number of five-star hotels are in the pipeline to commence their operations. Of them are Le Méridien, Marriott Patriot, Sheraton, JW Marriott. To tap the growing demand for accommodation, these hotels will start operation within a year, said sources. Right at this moment, there is a need for 4,500 five-star hotel rooms while currently the capital city has around 1,300 five-star rooms, industry experts said. They added that the hotels enjoy full occupancy only in winter and an average occupancy rate of around 75% can easily make hotel business profitable.

The number of five-star hotels is increasing at a rate of 15% a year and it will double within the next three years, according to an expert. Ashwani Nayar, general manager of Le Méridien Hotel, said: “Bangladesh is a promising market and looking at this market we are trying to capture the country’s hospitality business in the long run.’’ In recent years, the hospitality sector in Bangladesh has boomed in the five-star hotel segment. Only three new five-star hotels opened in Dhaka in the past five years, he added. Dr Mustafizur Rahman, executive director of Center for Policy Dialogue, said Bangladesh has economic potential and hotel business will be booming in terms of tourist attractions and growing tourism industry. ‘’After the devastating earthquake in Nepal, Bangladesh would be a potential tourist hub if we can ease the visa system.’’ Md Al-Amin, head of sales, Westin Hotel, said as the number of affluent visitors, including investors, top officials from banks and shipping industry, is increasing fast in the region, there is no alternative to establishing more hotels. l

‘LP gas to reach 70% households in 3 yrs’ n BSS State Minister for Power and Energy Nasrul Hamid yesterday said liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) will reach 70% households of the country’s township areas within the next three years. He also indicated that if needed, subsidy would be provided to keep the LPG price within the affordability of the common

people in order to encourage its usage. The junior minister made the remarks while launching the marketing of BM Energy brand’s LP gas at a function at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the city. BM Energy, a joint venture company of Bangladesh and the Netherlands, will market three types of containers of LP gas at 12 kg, 33 kg and 45 kg across the

country. Nasrul Hamid advised the BM Energy officials to introduce smaller size containers of LP gas for the convenient of customers. He said the country has annual 500,000 metric tons of LP gas. “We urge the private companies to come forward alongside the government to meet the growing demands of LP gas,” he added. l

Le Méridien Dhaka, Starwood’s international hotel chain, is set to open tomorrow with a special offer for guests. At least three more five-star hotels will start operation in the capital within a year while Marriott patriot & Sheraton at the beginning of next year. After its renovation, the state-owned Ruposhi Bangla hotel will also be reborn as InterContinental Dhaka. Best Holdings Limited (BHL) is the owning company of Le Méridien providing for guests a special offer that will remain valid till November this year. Located very close to Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, the 16-storey building of Le Méridien has 304 rooms, with their rents starting from $230 each while high speed internet service, Illy coffee and fitness centre, plus swimming pool are free for guests as part of inauguration booking. “All that is required will be there. Our target clients are businessmen, corporate clients and airlines crew members,” Secretary of the Best Holdings Limited Shaikh Waliar Rahman told the Dhaka Tribune. Each room of Le Méridien is 40 square metre while rooms of other five-star hotels in the country are only 30 square metre, he added. Hotel management sources said 40% manpower have already been recruited from fresh university graduates for smooth operation of the hotel. Unlike most five-star hotels in the capital that have maximum 235 rooms, Le Méridien accommodates 304 rooms. The largest five-star hotel in the country in terms of room numbers and sizes is expected to go in full operation at the end of this year. Best Holdings Limited is confident of making success of the 304-room hotel stressing over seven lakh square feet of space including a parking lot for 300 cars. Le Méridien Dhaka will span between its eighth and fifteenth floors and offer guests breathtaking views of the capital from the building’s rooftop. l

31 May, 2015  
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