Leena Nandan, joint secretary of the tourism ministry, responding to what European tour operators have to say about prohibitive hotel rates in India keeping recession hit tourists at bay, said: ‘We have been evaluating the response of consumers and have in fact got a very good response to the road shows in Singapore, Malaysia and Australia’.
‘Keeping the global meltdown in mind, and in a move with the service providers, a number of attractive travel and tour packages have been developed which will be available from April onwards,’ Nandan told IANS.
Several European tour operators who attended the March 11-15 International Tourism Bourse (ITB) in Berlin lamented that the ‘totally unrealistic and unacceptable’ hotel rates are a bigger deterrent to international tourists coming to India than the fear of terrorism post the Mumbai carnage.
The ‘Visit India’ tour packages which, Nandan said, will also include incentives such as complimentary sight seeing, will be appealing to the recession-hit traveller.
‘We understand that in times of recession everyone wants to travel and spend smartly. Therefore all tour operators who attended the roadshow promotions abroad stressed that all values will be incorporated in the packages and we have received a number of queries and a great feedback then on,’ she said.
The Indian pavilion at the ITB - the world’s biggest tourism show - made for a platform for many worried exchanges regarding high hotel prices between agents and service providers.
‘A year back, the hotel rates were high because there was less supply of three and five star hotels. So in winters, which is the peak season, the hotel rates were around 300-400 US dollars, while the same would be offered for 150 US dollars in Singapore.
‘But the situation is changing now. There was a slowdown in the capacity in the last six months because of the recession but things are getting better. By 2010-11, I am sure that the prices offered here will be...