Future of hospitality sector:
To boost up the growth of tourism in India, the government has proposed to invest Rs. 520 crore in 2007-2008. Tourism in expected to grow further over the next few years due to the changes taking place on the demand and supply sides. The factors that will account for the further growth of tourism will include the following: • Change in standards of living
• More disposable income
• Better education
• Long leisure time
• Aging population
Owing to growth of tourism sector, infrastructure will improve, competition will increase, new products will come into markets and better services will be provided. Due to the rapid growth in tourism, the hotel industry is also booming. Many international players like Le Meridien and Accor are heading towards Indian markets to expand their business. With government's full support in developing infrastructure, increase in demand, open sky policies and increased competition, the hospitality industry is getting consolidated and has many more opportunities to grow further.
Hospitality sector looking up
GOING by reservations, the hospitality industry in India seems ready to bounce back. This comes as a major relief for the industry, which in mid-2003, looked set for another bad year with the war in Gulf and SARS in South-East Asia. But since end-August, things have changed. The bookings are back and industry fortunes are looking up. One of the reasons for this could be the Union Government's tourism promotion campaign, `Incredible India', which has been quite successful, said Mr Uttam Dave, Chief Executive Officer, Pannell Kerr Forster, management consultants to the hospitality and leisure industry. He said the problems in tourism destinations such as Bali and Jakarta in South-East Asia and the spread of the SARS virus have brought India into focus. Mr Dave is, however, not sure how much growth can be ascribed to it though, as the primary issues — perceptions regarding health, hygiene and infrastructure — about India as a tourist destination remain. Another reason for the interest in India and increased arrivals is India's nomination as one of the top 10 destinations in the world by a leading travel magazine, according to Mr Ravi Dubey, Senior Vice-President (Corporate Affairs), The Taj Group. Further, hotel chains and even individual hotels have been promoting and marketing their properties in overseas markets. Mr Dubey said the Taj Group's own marketing efforts and the vibrancy of the economy in a peaceful environment have been reasons for this healthy outlook. Occupancy levels at hotels in tourist locations, in the Golden Triangle (Delhi-Agra-Jaipur), Kerala and Goa, have started picking up as the tour groups, mainly from Germany, France, Italy and Russia, have been coming in. Starting at 60 to 75 per cent in October, occupancies are expected to go to 100 per cent during the super peak season from December 20 to January 20. Travel agents said hotels in some of these destinations have doubled their tariffs for the Christmas and New Year holiday period. The important thing is not real growth, but recovery, Mr Dubey said. The industry can expect growth from next year if this trend continues. All categories of the hotel industry have seen an increase in reservations. Mr Dave said the business shifts from segment to segment depending on rates and availability of the rooms. Another interesting trend is that domestic travel is also booming. During the lean years, the hoteliers wooed the Indian travellers with freebies and loyalty programmes to build a new market...