Mali crisis having serious toll on tourism, hotel jobs
The ongoing crisis in Mali amid Islamist rebels’ occupation of the north of the country is having a serious toll on tourism and other economic activities, with hotels empty as many are losing their jobs.
Most hotel rooms in the capital, Bamako have not been occupied for months now and owners have received little or no revenues as the country’s tourism sector has virtually dried up.
In some cases, workers have been laid off and others doing business with hotels have seen transactions ceased, with business at the lowest ebb.
WADR’s Bamako Correspondent Abdou Karim Ba reports that a number of guests in the capital’s big hotels have drastically dropped, but yet hotel managers are expected to pay utility bills and staff salaries.
The director at one of them, Hotel Campement said “the crisis has had a huge impact on the number of rooms occupied by tourists and this has led to huge financial losses for the tourism sector.”
He said for close to three months, “we have not hosted any guest, we are practically surviving thanks to some other resources but not from the income generated from the hotel.”
Mohamed Doumbia, manager of the Savannah Motel said “the March 22 events have brought chaos in our business,” referring the day the military coup took place. Captain Amadou Sanogo led a group of soldiers of the Malian army to overthrow then civilian government of President Amadou Toumani Toure, who was already battling a rebel insurgency in the north. Shortly after that in April, the MNLA rebels and their partners, armed Islamist militant partners Ansar Dine and AQIM rapidly capture Kidal, Gao and Timbacktu thus seizing the entire northern region,
“We are today in a situation where we do not have expatriate clients anymore,” moaned Mohamed Doumbia, Savannah Motel manager in Bamako.
As a further confirmation of the dire predicament of hotels in Mali,, two large hotel groups in the country have just announced the closure of two of their complexes.
More and more the negative impact is being felt more strongly through laying off of workers not only in the tourism sector but in other areas of the economy, while others are simply being sent on compulsory leave. Despite efforts made by hotels at the beginning of the crisis to keep running their business, they are now quickly losing hope.
And the general economic outlook of Mali is bleak to say the least.