Woes of Indian hotel industry!

IBIS Delhi airport

With no official respite from the government, and number of COVID-19 cases rising sharply across the country, the industry finds itself in the lurch. Find out more…

Anupriya Bishnoi

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced extension of the ongoing lockdown till May 3 which was earlier scheduled till April 14. With the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country, PM Modi opines the extension seems like the best way to combat the horrific pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Indian tourism and hotel industry has suffered insurmountable losses and according to a few stalwarts, the damage caused is irrevocable. According to Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, Vice President, FHRAI, “Amongst all industries, the hospitality industry is the worst hit and this fact has now also been recognised by the Government of India. We are talking incalculable losses. The figures keep increasing every day as the lockdown continues.”

It’s not just the lockdown that worries him, the VP of the hotel federation of India, also expresses his fears about loss of the jobs in the country that will incur if situation doesn’t get better. He says, “While retaining jobs of workers seems like a noble thing to do, job losses are inevitable. 50-60% of the total jobs are in danger if the sector is not revived.”

A statement by HVS deduces that while most economists and analysts currently expect the global economy to rebound, by some measure in the latter part of 2020, the exact timeline cannot be determined till the virus is contained across the globe.

To say that the economic impact of the outbreak has been devastating, is putting it mildly. While the exact recovery timeline remains indeterminate, according to Ajay K. Bakaya, MD, Sarovar Hotels and Resorts, the recovery will take over a year post full opening of the skies, and removal of all restrictions.

“Foreign travel will very likely take a big beating for the next 12 months or more. The domestic market will respond faster to fuel recovery. I have no doubt that recovery will be gradual, especially MICE. Once again, business hotels will recover faster. Mid-market hotels will be better placed to reap recovery benefits as bleeding businesses will be forced to cut all costs,” he shares.

While thousands of hotels in the country remain shut owing to no business, a few are providing quarantine facilities in the premises where some floors are dedicated for people seeking quarantine. One such hotel is ibis Aerocity where 149 rooms across three dedicated floors are kept for guests seeking quarantine, reveals an official spokesperson to HT.

Where a lot has been lost, innovative ideas across the industry is something that can keep the situation buoyant. Jaideep Dang, Managing Director, Hotels & Hospitality Group, JLL, believes that businesses often innovate during times of crisis and uncertainty. He attests, “In the F&B space, some hotels are providing food deliveries within a radial distance, generating cash flow. To optimise food and operational costs, the menu provided by such hotels is limited. Elsewhere across India, several hotels are providing facilities for quarantine and therefore maintaining some level of occupancy and as a result, helping several communities during this challenging period.”

While millions of jobs are danger and thousands of hotels in the country under suspension, the future for the industry remains uncertain. We will keep you updated as events unravel in due time.