Domestic travel drives hotel demand in India

INDIA’S burgeoning domestic market is filling rooms and propelling hotel investments within the country, according to panel discussions at the three-day Hotel Investment Forum India, which ends today.

The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts president Rajiv Kaul said: “The last three years have made us more respectful towards the domestic market. We’re already seeing domestic travellers accounting for 48 per cent of business at our leisure hotel in Goa. It is 30 per cent for our properties in major cities and we expect it to reach 50 per cent very soon.”

Kaul added that weddings were also a growing source of income for hotels, noting that the chain’s luxury hotel in Goa was doing a thriving wedding business.

Taj Hotels & Resorts managing director and CEO, Raymond Bickson, said the chain was also keen to tap into the youth market, with 60 per cent of India’s population being under the age of 25.

“The domestic travel industry is going to define products whether it is for business, leisure or MICE,” said Horwath HTL India director Vijay Thacker.

MGM Mirage Hospitality vice president of development for India, Rishi Kapoor, pointed out that integrated resorts should be built to increase length of stay.

“There is not a single city in India where (my family) can spend more than two days without being bored,” said Kapoor.

By Anand & Madhura Katti

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