PUNE: Business and corporate clients have gone a long way in sailing the boat for the hospitality sector in the first half (H1) of the FY 2017-18. The sector, which had seen a major slump a few years ago, has seen phenomenal growth in the last two years with opening of many new hotels and entry of luxury international brands into the Indian market.
Meanwhile, the tourism sector, too, has shown significant growth and appears to be unaffected by the policy changes brought in by the government, including demonetisation, Goods and Services Tax and others. In fact, travel patterns of people have also visibly changed with people investing in weekend getaways and travel during the monsoon or off-seasons. Statistics provided by the national tourism agencies of several countries and their attempts to woo more Indian tourists also point to the positive growth in this sector.
Speaking about their performance, General Manager of Viman Nagar-based Hyatt Regency, Vishal Singh said, “The hotel has been successfully driving average room rates this year and is a preferred hotel this side of the city. All hotels on Ahmednagar Road were affected by the liquor ban during, thereby negatively impacting the restaurant revenues. We, at Hyatt Regency Pune, apart from rooms, continue to focus on large banqueting spaces, restaurants and spa services.”
Shedding light on the hospitality sector in Pune in H1 2017-18, Singh stated that the Pune market is among the top performing cities in India and has recorded double-digit revenue per available room (RevPAR) growth.
“From the overall India market perspective, the industry saw a 4.6 per cent RevPAR growth in H1 2017 over H1 2016,” he said.
According to him, the growth in the sector has been driven largely by the corporate segment, with a number of businesses opening offices in Pune. “Apart from large automobile and IT sector set-ups, Pune has also become a staycation destination as well as wedding destination that helps in driving weekend business,” he said.
He stated that with the GST rollout, taxation on rooms in the luxury hotel segment has gone up but the midscale and economy hotels have been positively impacted.
Speaking about the hospitality sector and hotel business here, Vice President, Operations, Luxury, Asia Pacific for Hilton Group, Daniel Welk said the hotel business has grown phenomenally in the last two years. “The cycle has completely changed and now demand is consistently out-pacing supply. Demand is moving stably providing optimism in the sector. Hotels are moving at par with the estimated GDP,” he said.
He added that corporate business is certainly leading the way for their property in the city, Conrad Pune.
“While corporate business is leading the way, leisure travel is picking up. We have a lot of foreign business travellers who stay here for extended periods. We see group bookings on weekends as Pune is also becoming a weekend destination for people from other cities,” he added.
The changing travel patterns of citizens and their willingness to travel in even the off-seasons points toward the boom in the tourism industry. In a survey recently conducted by leading online travel portal, Yatra.com, nearly 81 per cent of respondents stated that they plan to travel in the monsoon, which is the traditional lean period for tourism in the country.
The survey stated that while a majority of respondents, 47.2 per cent, are planning to travel for one to four days, a whopping 45.9 per cent respondents stated they are planning a vacation for almost 15 days.
Speaking on the impact of GST on tourism, officials from Yatra.com said, “The survey revealed that 56 per cent respondents said that their preference of luxury travel has been adversely affected due to GST.
One of the key observations derived out of the monsoon survey was also that a whopping number of 43.5 per cent respondents are willing to spend Rs 2,500 to Rs 5,000 on accommodation per night as luxury hotels attract 28 per cent GST. Post-GST announcement, three-star or four-star hotels are preferred by over 30 per cent travellers.”
Another survey conducted by travel service provider SOTC said that religious tourism has become a new travel category in India with nearly 45 per cent of Indians taking a pilgrimage once every year, and 15 per cent people taking a pilgrimage every six months.
Officials from Tourism Australia, Tourism New Zealand and South Africa Tourism has pegged India as one of their most important source markets.
They stated that the footfall of tourists from India is growing by leaps and bounds year-on-year and thus they are designing packages exclusively to fit the needs of Indian tourists.