Three hotels in Entebbe Municipality have been fully booked to accommodate at least 500 evacuees from Afghanistan, we have learnt. They include Imperial Resort Beach Hotel that is accommodating the 51 evacuees, Imperial Botanical Beach Hotel and Central Inn.
While Imperial Resort Beach Hotel is out of bounds to the public and under the protection of the Joint Security Taskforce, the two other hotels have minimal security. Our reporter visited both hotels to try to book a room but was turned away. “We are receiving bookings for meetings but not rooms because evacuees are coming,” a source at Central Inn said.
A source at the hotel said they had been approached by the US embassy to prepare for evacuees. “So we are not sure if we shall remain open for normal business.” A source at Imperial Botanical Beach Hotel, said all business for the Imperial hotels in Entebbe are being handled at the head office in Kampala.
“We do not know when these people from Afghan will come. Nevertheless, we are not accepting bookings for our rooms. We are however open for those who have conferences and meetings,” the source said. According to sources, the US embassy booked the three hotels from August 16, after the government announced that Uganda had agreed to host 2,000 Afghani evacuees.
Evacuations started on August 16 when the Taliban overthrew the government of Ashraf Ghani. This prompted the US, the United Kingdom and Germany to evacuate over 100,000 people whose lives are in danger such as the former US employees, activists and journalists from Afghanistan.
US President Joe Biden says evacuations will end on August 31 despite an attack on Kabul Airport last Thursday that claimed over 170 people and leftover 150 others injured. Last week, John Mulimba the Minister of State for Regional Cooperation told the media that the ministry is not yet sure when the next batch of evacuees will be arriving in the country.
Mulimba noted that the evacuees will stay in hotels in Entebbe Municipality. The US Embassy in Kampala says it will provide updates as the situation develops in Afghanistan. Some hotels in Entebbe have started lobbying for business.
Soubia Antony, the Managing Director of Pulickal Hotel, says that although they do not have any bookings to host the evacuees, they are “hopeful”. Hajji Mbabali Njuki, the Deputy Resident District Commissioner for Entebbe Municipality, says hotels in Entebbe will be given business as long as they meet the standards and needs of the evacuees. “But not all hotels can host these evacuees,” he hastened to add.