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Hoteliers bank on elections, domestic demand for 2014 comeback
Rohit Kaul, reporting from Hotel Investment Forum India, Gurgaon, January 15, 2014

INDIA'S hospitality players are expecting the post-election political stability and a stronger domestic demand in the year ahead to give a much-needed recovery jolt for the industry. 


Rajeev Menon, area vice president, South Asia at Marriott International, commented: “I think that 1H2014 will be same like 2013, but if there is a stable government formation, it will boost the mood of the investors.”


“RevPAR for the industry witnessed negative 4.5 per cent growth last year, but we expect it will move towards a positive (number) once the new government is formed.”


Echoing Menon’s sentiments, Anupam Narayan, CEO and managing director (India and South Asia), Swiss International Hotels & Resorts, said occupancies are likely to rise after the elections.


Rajiv Kaul, president of Hotel Leelaventure, predicted that the industry could see modest growth in 2014. “Perhaps we have seen the worst in 2013 and this year will see us rebuilding. Post-elections will decide the momentum of growth.”


Hoteliers also expected the domestic market to play a pivotal role in their fortunes for 2014. “At present, 65 per cent of our business comes from the domestic market. In 2014, we will try to further grow this segment for us,” said Menon.


Confident was Naveen Jain, president of Duet India Hotels, saying: “As operators in the mid-scale segment, we expect strong demand from the domestic market, especially the business segment for hotels in the US$80-100 bracket.”


However, Kapil Chopra, president of The Oberoi Group, pointed out: “We have to remember that (foreign) tourism is one of the biggest contributors to our foreign exchange. The government needs to simplify and fast-track the current visa processes so as to increase international arrivals.”


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