Hotel Signings Remain Strong in India Despite Slow May – India Report

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We’re always talking about growth in India, and the hotel industry has had a significant number of branded signings and openings this year. But in May, there was a significant decline in average daily rates and revenue per available room compared to April.

The Indian hotels industry signed a total of 146 branded hotels between January and May this year. This was up from 110 branded hotels signed during the same period last year. More than 14,000 keys are now under development, a monthly report by hospitality advisory services firm HVS Anarock showed.

Among the hotels signed during this period are Sofitel Jaipur Jawahar Circle, Vivanta Indore, Gateway Sarnath, and a Taj-branded hotel in Pushkar.

As many as 49 hotels with over 3,000 rooms opened during the period, down from 58 hotels between January and May 2023. These include hotels such as voco Jim Corbett, Park Inn by Radisson Ayodhya, Hyatt Centric Ballygunge Kolkata, Radisson’s Pramod Lands End Resort, Ronil Goa, Radisson Collection Hotel & Spa, Riverfront Srinagar, and Ginger Nagpur.

Key Metrics Decline: The industry witnessed a marginal decline in occupancy from April to May. It was also 1-3 percentage points below May 2019 occupancy levels. Overall, the hospitality industry recorded an occupancy rate of 59-61%. 

New Delhi, Chandigarh, Goa, Chennai, Bengaluru, and Kochi witnessed the most significant increases in occupancy rates. Meanwhile, there was a decline in occupancy rates in Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Pune. 

Meanwhile, there was a significant decline in average daily rates (ADR) and revenue per available room (RevPAR) in May as compared to April. While ADR declined by 6-8%, RevPAR witnessed a reduction of 9-11% as compared to April.

Positive Sentiments: Hotel brands are bullish on the Indian market, which is leading to an increase in hotel development across the country.

During his recent visit to India, Accor CEO Sébastien Bazin said that a significant portion of success of hotel companies depends on demography and emerging middle class. This is especially true for India, he said, adding that the country is an untapped market. “India has been taking the lead in terms of economy and is the fastest growing country in the world right now.”

Hyatt Hotels CEO Mark Hoplamazian also said recently that it is a positive time for India, especially as there is an increased interest in investments in the industry. He said, “If you’re willing to put up with that barrier to entry, your returns can be very high. That is coming true, because India is ascending in terms of its demographic profile, economy, and spending power of Indians.”

Ras Al Khaimah Offers Free Visas with MICE, Wedding Events to Indians

The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) has introduced complimentary visas for MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) and wedding events for Indians. The initiative will run from July this year to March 2025, and it aims to attract groups to hold weddings and corporate events at the United Arab Emirates destination. 

“This incentive will enhance Ras Al Khaimah’s appeal as a premier destination for Indian MICE and wedding events. We saw a 23% growth in MICE revenue and 103% increase in wedding-related revenue in 2023,” said Iyad Rasbey, vice president of destination tourism development at RAKTDA. 

The emirate witnessed a 20% increase in the number of Indian visitors in 2023. 

India Makes E-Tourist Visa Free For Malaysia

India has made its e-tourist visa free for Malaysian nationals. With this, passport holders of Malaysia will be able to obtain a 30-day double entry e-tourist visa for free between July 1, 2024, till June 30 next year. 

In a press release, the Indian high commission in Kuala Lumpur said that the visa fee waiver would not be applicable on paper or regular visas. Malaysian nationals applying for any other e-visa category will also need to pay the fee for their respective visas. 

The move comes months after Malaysia made entry visa-free for Indian passport holders till the end of 2024. 

India has also issued a similar visa fee waiver for Thai passport holders for 30-day single/double entry e-tourist visas for the next six months. 

ITC Hotels Launches Brand Storii in West Bengal

ITC Hotels has launched its boutique hotels brand Storii in West Bengal with the opening of Storii Devasom Resort and Spa, Kolkata. 

The 24-key hotel “strengthens our presence in eastern India and is a significant addition to our bouquet of offerings in West Bengal,” said ITC Hotels chief executive Anil Chadha. 

ITC Hotels is focusing on scaling the brand. With this new property, the company has five operational properties under Storii in India. Properties in Rishikesh, Manali, Prayagraj, and Kufri are under development. 

Laos Strengthening Tourism Ties with India

Laos is “actively collaborating” with the Indian tourism ministry in order to enhance tourism opportunities. Laos ministry of tourism director-general Khom DouangChanta said that India is a key market not just globally but also within ASEAN. In order to attract Indian tourists, the nation planned 77 tourism activities from January to December this year to showcase its offerings.

In 2023, nearly 14,000 Indian tourists went to the Southeast Asian nation. “In the first quarter of 2024 alone, more than 4,000 Indians visited Laos,” DouangChanta said. 

He added that airlines from both the nations are under discussions to work on putting in place effective air connectivity. “Our goal is to establish robust connections that will facilitate easier travel for Indian visitors to Laos and vice versa. This will significantly boost tourism exchanges between our nations,” the director-general said. 

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