Hospitality business on track to reclaim old glory soon

Occupancies and bookings are already eclipsing 2019 levels for some branded hotel chains, but a complete, broad-based recovery to 2019 levels for the entire hospitality industry should be achieved by the end of this calender year, as per industry body Hotel Association of India (HAI).

“We have come back almost to 2019 levels. Perhaps the broader recovery to 2019 levels in terms of revenues, occupancies and room rates would be achieved by the end of this season or the next,” said MP Bezbaruah, secretary general, HAI.

“As per various industry reports, business is coming back to 2019 levels. Earlier, the expectation was that it would happen by 2023. But now it should be sooner. Qualitatively, there is a difference. It is currently driven by domestic tourism, leisure tourism and staycations,” he added.

HAI includes industry representation from chains such as Indian Hotels Company (IHCL), The Oberoi Group, Radisson Hotel Group and Lemon Tree.

The association is also seeking an industry status from states. States such as Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Karnataka have granted an industry status to hotels over the past one year and HAI is hoping more states would follow suit.



“We went through huge problems. So, if we are given an industry status, which is a state subject, our members will get certain incentives whether it is power tariff at the industry level which is quite a discount, and other benefits. Some governments are forthcoming. We have states that have already declared that they have accorded an industry status,” said KB Kachru, VP, HAI, and chairman emeritus and principal advisor, South Asia at Radisson Hotel Group.

“The key issue is although the industry status has been accorded, the relevant benefits have not been given by all the states. Maharashtra and Rajasthan have accorded, declared and even advertised this. So, if somebody can run a profitable, sustainable business, they would choose these states first. We are sure other states will do it too since it’s in the interest of people and domestic tourism,” he added.

Kachru said the government should look at MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions), international tourism and focus on a good delivery for domestic tourism. “They should look at new destinations of interest and building relevant infrastructure around it. Since the last quarter, business has been picking up. The big MICE events are still not there, but the movement is positive. There are a lot of international investors who have shown interest and are looking for opportunities. It has to be backed by creating new destinations to keep the interest alive. We have to be treated as a priority industry,” he added.