Ramada optimistic about future


The new rules imposed on the hospitality industry promoting 'family tourism' may have affected many hotels, but Ramada's general manager, Rohan Karunaratne is unfazed.

"The Ramada has been undergoing a transformation for over a decade to reflect and maintain the wide appeal from both business and family travelers with all of our appropriate amenities and essential business services. Our concern has always been to continue to improve and extend the highest and most stringent standards of services. The new effort to promote general tourism and family-oriented destinations made our primary focus the existing service applications for which Ramada prides itself on."

Karunaratne welcomed the move as being a healthy and positive step implemented by Tourism Affairs in hotels throughout the country. "Yes, we believe a subtle effect would cost the hotel industry a comparative amount in annual revenue during the transition period. But in time this will transform the hotel industry and achieve high accolades in promoting sustainable genuine tourism and family tourism."

According to Karunaratne Ramada was one of the many hotels, that benefited form Bahrain's Summer festival. He said that the festival attributed a 20 per cent growth to the hotel's occupancy.

He commended the Economic Development Board's (EDB) efforts during the festival and felt that the festival won visitors' confidence from neighboring states and other countries.

He did say, however, that hotels had to play a larger role in promoting the event by coordinating with the EDB.

"The hotel industry is one of the market segments that constantly liaise with travel agencies and tour operators around the world. The festival was a success and should extend its venues around the island in the future.

Karunaratne said that the large number of high profile projects in Bahrain's pipeline have put the country on the enterprise and development map; the results of which have been a positive take-off in the leisure, retail and housing sectors over recent years.

Ramada Bahrain is a 4-star hotel situated a short walk away from the corniche and dolphinarium.

In the coming years the hotel will focus on food and beverage operations and facilities to cater for guests, says Karunaratne. "This includes the development of in-house facilities that are currently managed and operated by third parties, which will revert to Ramada management, and become part of the existing facilities and form part of expanded facilities that Ramada have to offer."

The hotel is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and 2001 saw one of the best year performances in terms of revenues, says Karunaratne. He feels 2002 will again be a record year for the hotel, demonstrating a progressive increase of revenues and profit performance over the last five years.