The vision for the hospitality sector goes much beyond just branded hotels — to include tier-2 and 3 cities which will be crucial for tourism growth. Plus, other highlights from last week's news in hotel deals and development across the country.
The Indian hotel sector is poised to contribute $1.5 trillion to the country’s economy by 2047, up from $65 billion in 2022, forecasts the Hotel Association of India in its “Vision 2047: Indian Hotel Industry” report.
The association anticipated growth of 15% in the long-term for the overall hospitality industry. The total contribution includes aspects of services from corresponding industry verticals such as food and beverages, salon & spas, etc.
Looking at it more broadly, the group forecasts that tourism and hospitality will contribute $3 trillion. To reach that target, the sector will need:
- Policy support and ease of doing business.
- Rise in national and international tourist footfalls.
- Extending accommodation growth beyond the metros to tier II, III cities.
Domestic Tourist Visits: These are anticipated to rise from 677 million in 2021 to 1.5 billion by 2030 and then further to 15 billion by 2047 in the long term (2037-2047), the report said.
International Travelers: There would be 15 million international visitors arriving in India by 2024, 25 million by 2030, and 100 million tourists by 2047.
“The tourism industry is going through a significant transformation and technology has helped us enhance customer engagements. Convergence of efforts at different levels and collaboration between the government and private stakeholders will be the key to the successful realization of the vision of creating jobs and contributing to the national growth story,” said Puneet Chhatwal, president of Hotel Association of India and managing director and CEO of Indian Hotels Company.
Tourism Ministry Launches Wedding Tourism Campaign
What the Campaign Entails: 25 key destinations have been shortlisted to be pitched across the world. Besides royal weddings, India plans to hardsell beach weddings and Himalayan weddings.
Other Highlights: The campaign is developed in consultation with industry experts, associations, and wedding planners that delves into India’s myriad locales, ancient rituals, gastronomy, and infrastructure.
Wedding Tourism Policy: Earlier in April, the Events and Entertainment Management Association of India collaborated with consulting firm Deloitte to create a draft of the policy that includes:
- Guidelines for the promotion of India’s unique wedding customs and traditions.
- Development of infrastructure to support the industry’s growth.
- Creation of a legal framework to ensure that the industry operates ethically and transparently.
Oyo Partners With Haryana to Offer Employment in Europe to State’s Youth
Budget hotel operator and aggregator Oyo will facilitate on-the-job training across its vacation home business in countries such as Denmark and Netherlands to selected youth from Haryana in conjunction with Shri Vishwakarma Skill University.
The Partnership: Oyo signed a memorandum of understanding with Shri Vishwakarma Skill University, Haryana Kaushal Rozgar Nigam Limited (HKRNL), and the Foreign Cooperation Department, the company said in a statement.
Objective: The aim is to create job prospects for the youth in various job roles within the hospitality sector in European nations.
“The initiative not only will contribute to the economic development of the state but also foster international cooperation and cultural exchange through the movement of skilled workers,” said Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.
Outline of the Plan:
- Youngsters registered on HKRNL will receive skill training aligned with the specific job requirements identified by Oyo.
- Vishwakarma Skill University will be responsible for providing this training and awarding the corresponding certificates.
- Once the training is completed, the Foreign Cooperation Department will facilitate the process of overseas employment for these youths.
Germany to Invest $541,000 in India to Promote Tourism
Germany has earmarked an investment of about $541,000 on marketing activities in India to showcase itself as the preferred destination to Indian tourists.
Visa Woes: Germany is also working to speed up the visa process, which is still taking up to eight weeks, said Georg Enzweiler, deputy head of mission at the German Embassy.
Rise in Indian Tourists: Germany reported a 209% increase in overnight stays by Indians in 2022 compared to the previous year, according to data from the German National Tourist Board. In 2022, Indians spent a total of 623,363 nights in Germany and are yet to reach the record level of 961,656 in 2019.
Visa Rejections: Indian travelers faced one of the highest rejection rates in the world when it comes to Schengen visas, according to Schengen Visa Statistics 2022 data. Indians filed over 600,000 Schengen visa applications last year — the third highest in the world — but also faced a steep rejection rate of 18%.
57% Travelers Prefer Planned Itineraries: Booking.com Report
Nearly 57% of Indians prefer a planned itinerary and book local travels, places to visit, eateries, in advance, according to Booking.com’s second edition of the APAC Travel Confidence Index 2023. 30% said that they prefer to book only transport and accommodation in advance; while everything else can be on the go.
Deep-Dive on Traveler Perspective: Nearly half (42%) of the Indians mentioned that they trust digital travel platforms but like to prioritize factors like booking multiple aspects of their trip, flexible cancellation and refund policies when choosing these platforms.
- Cost: 50% of Indian travelers surveyed said that they use online accommodation booking websites or apps to compare prices before booking accommodations.
- Accommodation Types: Nearly 40% choose a digital travel platform based on the variety of accommodation options such as hotels, apartments, hostels, resorts and ‘bed and breakfasts’.
- Cancellation and Reservation Policy: 40% responded that flexible cancellation and refund policies are another factor they consider while selecting a digital travel platform.
- User Experience: 35% rely on other users’ experiences and reviews on the platform website or app before making the choice.
- Loyalty Programs: 24% of Indian respondents mentioned that loyalty programs are important while considering when choosing a digital travel platform.
Accor Signs Grand Mercure in Agra
Hotel operator Accor has introduced its first Grand Mercure property in Agra, a city renowned for the iconic Taj Mahal.
Number of Rooms: 168
When: The hotel is expected to be open by September 2023.
Location: The property is located in Fatehabad road, a short drive away from the famous tourist site.
Current Properties: Accor operates 58 properties in India under the Raffles, Fairmont, Sofitel, Pullman, Grand Mercure, Novotel, Mercure, and ibis brands.
Future Plans: Accor aims to open mid-level hotels across metros and budget brands in tier-2 and tier-3 cities in India. With a pipeline of 25 properties under development, the company aims to have more than 100 hotels by 2027 in the country.
China Temporarily Eases Visa Rules for Indians
China has temporarily eased its visa regulations for Indian citizens applying for categories such as business (M), tourism (L), short-term family visits (Q2) to Chinese citizens, transit (G), and crew (C) visas.
What are the Changes? The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in India has issued a notice stating that applicants eligible for single or double-entry visas for the mentioned categories are exempted from collection of biometric data (fingerprints) until December 31, 2023.
Cost of a Chinese Visa: $45-$95. This depends on the visa type and its validity period.
Visas Issued So Far: China issued over 71,600 visas to Indians traveling to China so far in 2023, Chinese Embassy in India spokesperson Wang Xiaojian said last month. Visas have been granted for purposes of business, study, tourism, work, among others.
Lemon Tree Hotels Opens Property in Rajkot
Lemon Tree Hotels has opened Lemon Tree Hotel, Rajkot in the western state of Gujarat. This is the sixth property of the group in the state.
Number of Rooms: 45 rooms and suites.
Recent Signings: Lemon Tree Hotel, Hissar.
Last month, the mid-market hotel chain signed a license agreement for a 48-room property in Udaipur in the northern state of Rajasthan, under the company’s brand ‘Keys Select by Lemon Tree Hotels.’ The hotel is expected to be operational by the fourth quarter of financial year 2024.
Targets: The company aims to achieve an occupancy of about 74% and take prices up by another 10-15% depending on market conditions in the third quarter of the year.
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Photo credit: The total contribution includes aspects of services from corresponding industry verticals such as food and beverages, salon & spas, etc. Pictured is The Imperial Hotel, Janpath, Connaught Place, New Delhi. Barun Ghosh / Unsplash