Packed travel hotspots during the extended Christmas weekend and in the run-up to the New Year are just another indicator of a booming hospitality and travel sector. And it is only expected to boom.
The sector remained resilient despite increased inflation and fuel prices, conflict in the Middle East and troubles in the aviation sector. With the wedding season kicking in, better infrastructure and multiple sport events, demand will continue to rise in 2024, top industry executives told NDTV Profit.
About 40 lakh weddings are planned this season, according to Puneet Chhatwal, managing director and chief executive officer of Indian Hotels Co. And even the government is looking to promote the country as a wedding destination. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ‘India says I do’ initiative to make India a premier destination for weddings.
Similarly, the G20 Summit “did great for marketing India as a destination globally”. While it might not have any immediate impact on the inflow of foreign tourists, Chhatwal said “over longer term at least in the G20 participating nations the destination India has got far more established than it was before”.
The summit also enabled Indian hotels to host large conferences as it is now possible to host 3,000-4,000 people under a single roof, he said.
Besides, India is also hosting many other sports ranging from Kho Kho to IPL, which were not happening earlier, said Chhatwal.
These together will help increase the demand for rooms by “8 to 10% increase per annum and that would mean that your ability to charge would be higher and your ability to drive profitability and good margins is higher”, Chhatwal said in an interview.
India’s infrastructure push will also boost travel and tourism, according to Prashant Pitti, co-founder of EaseMyTrip.com. “In the next 10 years, India will have 220 new airports and helipads, which will push the traveler numbers to 350 million and boost the hotel economy.”
Patanjali Keswani, chairperson of Lemon Tree Hotels Ltd., said India’s hotel industry is two years away from the inflection point as demand for mid-market branded properties will rise because of growing incomes.