BOOM TIME IN HOSPITALITY BUSINESS (By Gour Kanjilal)
Indian economy is booming, Foreign Exchange reserves is strong over $103 billion and rising, inflation is down; there is a great feeling of hotels bloom for tourism in every field. This feel good factor is also equally visible in tourism scene. Positive sentiments driven by infrastructural development specially in accommodation sector likely to bring more tourism investments. Tourist arrival figures crossed 3.9 million in 2005 and in 2006 it will be around 5 million. Tourism earnings have increased substantially. As per Ministry Of Tourism recent reports Foreign Exchange earnings estimated around,5 Billion [it is Rs.25172.00 cores], an increase by 31.5% over 2004. Tourist arrivals increased by 13.2 % and seeing the trend an year on growth of minimum 15% can be expected.
The confidence comes based on the feed back from tourists who had been to India. In the readers award for 2005 Condonast Traveller has selected India as one of the top five preferred destinations of the World for the discerning traveller. Earlier in January 2004, Lonely Planet conducted a survey in 134 countries to select the World favorite destination for individual travelers and India was among the top five favorite international destinations. Its observations that Raj villas in Jaipur (Rajasthan) is the best hotel in Asia and Ananda Resorts in Rishikesh is the second best spa Resort and this talks about the high standard of service India has achieved and how our hospitality sector is offering travelers unique experience with a mix of traditions and modernity in India.
The total availability of hotels in the classified sector is about 2000 which offers a total number of 99000 hotel rooms in the country and the industry is gearing up to put in place about 40,000 hotel rooms by the end of the Tenth Five Year Plan 2007. It is estimated that by 2010 it may go upto 6 million rooms from current level of 1.2 million rooms in 2005. Initiatives in the sphere of medical tourism and cruise tourism are expected to generate more than US$ 1.2 million foreign exchange annually. This hospital sector also will be augmenting accommodation sector as most of the hospitals are creating hotel block in their new marketing strategy.
In the projection for 10th Five Year Plan the hotel accommodation needs to be steeped up. Investments are pouring in the hotel construction and NRI Hotel Association in USA have big plan to invest in hotel business in India. India has a competitive advantage in packaging the hotel product now with successfully combining Ayurveda and alternative therapies (Rejuvenation holidays) and specialized tours - adventure, golfing, wildlife vacations, spiritual gateways and luxury living in its Palace Hotels / Heritage Hotels. Indian hospitality trade is seeing a boom in corporate & private sector business. Being strategically located, it is an automatic choice for international trade events. Its varied options for pre & post convention tours makes it all the more positive for MICE segment.
Bringing the air travel with in common mans reach domestic tourism in India has seen a boom time. It is estimated about 500 million domestic tourists have traveled in 2005 and it will be one of the most potential sector to support hospitality industry. Its boom has helped to combat off seasonality factor and growth of budget hotels. In recent years, Time share holiday in India has increased which promotes family holidays. Member enrolments have grown in Time Share holidays. Event management in hotels and specialty Restaurants have opened up new opportunities to conduct diverse business connected with hospitality sectors. Innovative concepts of Food Plazas, Water parks with resorts, ethnic dining centers like Choki Dhani near Jaipur, Rail Yatri Niwas, Yatri Niwas in States, Yatrikas
at pilgrimage centers - all have made a sea-change in tourism accommodation sector. Boom time scene is visible. It is the right moment to work out Govt. & Private sector partnership and move forward. Tourism is a multi-dimensional activity where all components of the tourism system have to work in synergy to deliver the product which primarily comprises of the ultimate visitors experience. India's present success in tourism is linked to the success of obtaining synergies through a combined & coordinated effort to face the competition. Undoubtedly, it is glittering India in hospitality industry.