Low tourist inflow during CWG disappoints hotel industry

New Delhi, Oct 20 (IANS) A low tourist inflow during the Commonwealth Games had an adverse impact on the hotels and restaurants business which was left with an over supply of rooms and low occupancy, industry officials said.

‘It was on the assurance of Centre that the hotel industry invested heavily in hotels and restaurants hoping to reap the benefits during the Commonwealth Games 2010. However, the fact is that tourist arrivals did not materialize as expected and bookings were at an all time low,’ said Saeed Shervani, president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Northern India (HRANI).

The tourism ministry had estimated that one lakh tourists would arrive during the Oct 3-14 Games. But the actual footfalls were 75,606.

‘In 2008, 10 million foreign tourists were targeted and the hospitality industry faced a shortfall of 130,000 rooms in all categories across India. In Delhi and the neighbouring region alone, there was a shortfall of 40,000 hotel rooms.

‘This shortfall was met largely by encouraging new hotels around Delhi, bringing guest houses into the mainstream in New Delhi. However, this has resulted in an oversupply of hotel rooms, further resulting in low occupancies and rates,’ he said here Tuesday.

According to Shervani, Gurgaon has 4,000-5,000 hotel rooms and another 2,000 rooms were planned in the next two years. Apart from this, there were another 2,500 hotels in the bed and breakfast segment, taking up the number to 9,000 rooms- a growth of 350 percent in the last three years.

‘This huge gap between the demand and the supply has ultimately resulted in low occupancy and fall in average room rates,’ he said.

Shervani suggested that tourism should be taken up as a responsibility by other departments too, besides the tourism ministry since it ‘neither controls the taxes nor the land which belongs to various agencies of the government’.

‘Tourism must be taken more seriously. All the ministries must get together to form one body with powers to give single window clearances for tourism related projects,’ he said.

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