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Industry’s Opinion on India easing travel for international travellers

Komal Hora CEO & Editor,HospiBuz, Hospitality Lexis Magazine Interacting with the experts of the industry, from travel aggregators to hoteliers, everyone seems thankful to the government. The industry seems very confident and hopeful with a well-managed pandemic and

Komal Hora

CEO & Editor,HospiBuz,

Hospitality Lexis Magazine

Interacting with the experts of the industry, from travel aggregators to hoteliers, everyone seems thankful to the government. The industry seems very confident and hopeful with a well-managed pandemic and vaccination drive. There seems to be increased demand for leisure, corporate and business travel.

The industry seems to be very excited and strategic about its vision and marketing as the pandemic has been a setback for the industry. Lately, there has been an increase in inbound travel but now with India easing travel for international travellers, outbound travel will also boom in India again, being great news for the Indian travel and hospitality industry.

The opening of India’s skies is a critical pivot in the industry’s road to recovery. The recent announcement by the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s (MoCA) to resume scheduled commercial international passenger services w.e.f March 27th will hence provide much needed relief for the sector, more so as it comes during India’s key booking season for the spring and summer school vacations.

Vishal Suri , Managing Director, SOTC Travel

“The resumption of international scheduled flights augurs well for the inbound demand in India. At present with India easing travel for international travellers, the move has come at the right time. Besides making the airfares competitive, the decision will send a positive signal in international markets that India is ready to welcome tourists. ADR will also go up due to international movement.”

Sarbendra Sarkar ,Founder & MD, Cygnett Hotels & Resorts

“With the lifting of international travel restrictions and steady vaccine rollout in India I am confident that there will be an increased demand in leisure, corporate and business travel. Online travel firms and commercial airlines are all set to reap the benefits of lifting travel restrictions. We have also seen an increase in number of queries for destination wedding because of the reopening and relaxation of travel restrictions across the globe. Resumption of international commercial flights will also regularize the demand-supply balance, resulting in lower international airfare, and more inbound travel into India. The team at Alila Fort Bishangarh look forward to welcoming the guests in the true Rajasthani spirit”

Manish Yadav ,Director of Sales & Marketing- Alila Fort Bishangarh

India had over 10 million international tourists (excluding NRIs) in 2019. It turns out that only 2.5-3 million tourists visit India each year for the purpose of holiday, with the USA and UK contributing a major chunk of the total. For a country this size, which has rich and diverse tourist offerings, the figure is dismally low. To offer some perspective, Thailand received 35 million tourists, predominantly in the leisure segment, in 2019 and Singapore, a city-state, received around 19 million inbound tourists that year. Being based in Ahmedabad city our focus is on Business travel, however leisure tourism can be better understood when one considers its economic benefits. Leisure travelers usually have longer durations of stay. They also tend to access more facilities and services related to accommodation, food, transportation and recreational activities and engage more with the local community than business travelers; thus, resulting in a wider induced economic impact.

Around 98% of tourists arrive into India by air, and so direct connectivity and availability of seats is paramount. After flight relaxations, most of the priority markets will travel for business to India, the majority of traffic still flows through an intermediate hub, especially from long-haul markets like the USA, Canada and Australia. Post Covid relaxations in international flight will boost sector’s total contribution to GDP of 5% at least compare to 6.8% in 2019.

Atmanirbhar Bharat is an anchoring growth for the future and will attract Foreign direct investment resulting more countries willing to invest in India and set-up their plants in country and boost economy. Along with above; new and old project on hold will be revived and boost hotel occupancies after relaxations in flights. At Crowne Plaza Ahmedabad we commit clean promise “Good isn’t good enough – we’re committed to high levels of cleanliness. That means clean, well maintained, clutter free rooms that meet out standards. If this isn’t what you find when you check-in then we promise to “make it right” and we look forward to welcome our guest back.

Nakul Sharma ,Revenue Manager, Crowne Plaza Ahmedabad

As India’s fastest growing Forex-Fin-Tech, the resumption of international flights brings the much needed cheer to pandemic-impacted business of foreign exchange and cross-border remittances. We foresee a surge in inbound and outbound travel, propelled by student, tourist and business travel in the coming months. The travel and hospitality industry is an important source of foreign exchange in India and grew at a CAGR of 7% pre-pandemic, it is a key contributor to the GDP of the country and also a prime source of employment generation.

N. Srikrishna , Whole-Time Director & CEO, Wall Street Forex (WSFx)

It’s a great news for all of us on the government’s decision to resume regular international flights starting March, 27th, 2022, 2 years after it was closed in 2019.

This step will provide the much needed impetus to the hospitality industry as we anticipate travel to increase back to 2019 levels by H2 and this added demand will help the hotels to drive better ADR’s, occupancy and revenues.

Till now, the travel was largely limited to within the countries and with the skies opening up again, we will see an influx of both MICE & individual travel opportunities that are planned to travel across borders.

The hospitality industry will also get a major leg-up from this move that could drive inbound tourism in a major way especially for cities which were highly dependent on international travelers.

Digvijay Singh , Director of Sales & Marketing, Indore Marriott Hotel, Marriott International

“2019 was a remarkable year for the hotel Industry as India got around 10M inbound travelers which resulted in substantial growth in RevPAR. In 2021, inspite of the absence of inbound business, the luxury segment in leisure destinations mirrored 2019 RevPAR levels led by strong demand from the domestic market.

With the relaxation in International flight operations, the demand will definitely scale up. This was also seen with significant bookings that came in for Q1 2022 in anticipation of easing International travel, which means the world is ready to travel to India, however, this was disrupted again due to the 3rd wave.

Currently, strong demand from the domestic market clubbed with Inbound is surely to give a sharp recovery to RevPAR Index and both Tier 1 and leisure destinations will greatly benefit from this.”

Jatish Ghai , Operations Manager, South Asia, Radisson Hotels

“The announcement of resuming International flights is a sigh of relief to the industry at large and it surely will impact the business in more ways than imagined. How quickly can we recover lost ground and exceed certain benchmarks will be seen with time.

However, this was only the first step and it has to be now operationalized. With flights being incorporated in the summer schedule the uplift in outbound travel will be the first to see traction. Majority of Indian corporates have declared positive results and certain industries like pharma, tech, commodities, FMCG have even grown to pre-covid levels. This could bring outbound MICE and Incentive business back on track. There is a willingness to spend, however, we have to make it easy for people to travel. Destinations that will have easy availability of flights, which also means affordable tickets, consistent policies on travel with no quarantine are likely to benefit. Ras Al Khaimah is a great example of a destination which ticks all the boxes and is more than willing to welcome outbound MICE out of India.

The inbound to India will also see traction and it will be a slow uplift. As it is we are entering off season for inbound so it gives time for international tour operators to ramp up their sales effort so that by October 2022 we can see some green shoots. Need of the hour today for this segment is effective destination marketing of Incredible India in key identified source markets with affordable priced air seats.

With two years of a kind of hiatus, it is time to roll up the sleeves for some serious hard work for organizations that want to remain at the forefront of their business.”

Hemant Mediratta , Founder – One Rep Global

India’s travel and tourism industry had been deeply impacted by the pandemic. With travel now opening up, people working in the sector are optimistic about business picking up pace.

Aviation and hospitality industry, which were hit hard by the pandemic, have welcomed the move to resume international flights. This step will provide impetus to the economic recovery for the sector and the nation, with borders opening for tourists.

The pandemic situation is improving globally, will rev up aviation and tourism industries. An increase in inbound tourism ahead of the summer season will definitely rev up the revenue stream of country’s bleeding aviation industry. The hospitality industry will also get a major leg-up from this move that could drive inbound tourism in a major way. The move will also bring respite for passengers planning their international travel ahead of the upcoming peak season by cool for passengers planning their international travel ahead of the upcoming peak season by cooling off the fares which had been sky high due to scarcity of flights between countries in bubble arrangements.

The travel fraternity has been the worst hit due to the pandemic. With the reopening of travel, the travel trade is also gearing up to restart and create jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities.Anand Nair , General Manager, Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park

“With the government relaxing and opening the skies for international passengers, we are optimistic about the return of the international tourists for whom Goa has always been a preferred destination in India. As these flights restart, the uptick seen in travel to leisure and resort destinations will witness a boom. This decision will surely help to boost the recovery of the aviation and hospitality industry.”

Ranju Singh , Complex General Manager, Novotel Candolim & Novotel Resort and Spa Goa

“I thank the government of India for taking a holistic approach by relaxing the international flight operations in India. This will boost international passenger sentiment to resume their travel plans to India and explore our vast and beautiful country. It’s good that mandatory quarantine rules have been relaxed to ease the tourist from travel despairs; and this in turn will give them more time to explore India and its dynamic destinations with total ease and leisure; and we at Lords Hotels and Resorts in India as well as Nepal, follow the necessary covid norms and are ready with all the necessary precautions for a safe and enjoyable stay – Karona Safe, Rahona Safe”

Mr Pushpendra Bansal, COO, Lords Hotels and Resorts

” With international borders reopening and relaxation of rules across the country, it will provide the right stimulus to the economic recovery of the tourism sector and the nation. Mandatory quarantine and other covid restrictions have also been lessened across the country. We will soon be welcoming our guests from overseas to many of our new hotel destinations in India as well as Nepal. We are looking forward to boosting our hotel room bookings with this initiative”

Mr. Rishi Puri , Senior Vice President Operations & Development, Lords Hotels and Resorts

India has been forward thinking and has taken a bold step in normalizing international travel with a high level of safety protocols. This step will definitely provide an impetus to the economic recovery of India with international borders opening up and making it easy for international tourists to travel in and out of the country, adding to the velocity of the economy and money. We welcome such a move by the government.

India’s strength is its domestic market, which creates a buffer and cushions it from international fluctuations. I don’t see that changing and I am optimistic of continued domestic demand over the next 2-3 years especially as it relates to hospitality, travel and Goa as a destination. Of course, outbound tourism from the country will go up and this adds to the overall positive impact on the sector. With regards to inbound travels, Goa has traditionally hosted 50% of India’s tourism arrivals and I don’t see that change. We look forward to ensuring our guest experience is impeccable and we are well positioned to absorb the increased demand over the coming months.

Siddhant Salgaonkar , Associate Director of Sales from Hilton Goa Resort

Regular international flights to start on March 27 after a long gap of nearly 2 years. With curbs relaxed it’s an opportunity to grow. As the decision comes just ahead of the summer travel season, it will allow airlines to add international flights as the Global demand for international travel is picking up in India, and there has been a significant uptick in travel. Trends of travellers are now eager to book long-haul destinations, fuelled by international borders reopening and relaxation of rules across the globe. The resumption of international commercial flights will also regularise the demand-supply balance.

Mahema Bhutia , Consultant Sales & Marketing, Aramness Gir

International flights to and from India are all set to start from March 27. This will be the first time after a gap of two years when the flights will be landing and taking off from our country. It augurs well for both the travel as well as hospitality industry. The first beneficiary of course will be the airlines; however, the hospitality industry is going to benefit from it immensely as well.

For Meluha, The Fern, an ecotel hotel, Mumbai it is great news as a large chunk of business comes from the international travellers.  We are situated in a hub where there are a lot of multinationals. More often than not they use our hotel.  Because of the restrictions their executives were not visiting India. Now that the pandemic is more or less under control, we are optimistic that more and more people are going to come to India once the skies are completely opened for international flights. It will impact our bottom lines positively. We are looking forward to improved occupancies and ARRs.

Punish B Sharma, VP Operations, The Fern Hotels & Resorts Meluha, The Fern, Mumbai



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