Hotel bookings for the March-May period this year have surpassed the pre-pandemic levels of the same period of 2019, led by strong domestic demand, Indian Hotels Co Ltd (IHCL) Managing Director & CEO Puneet Chhatwal said on Tuesday.
The head of the Tata group hospitality firm said that the long-term outlook of the industry is going to be far more positive than it was 5-10 years ago, although the volatility and geopolitical sentiments around the world amid the fear of the fourth wave of COVID-19 makes it difficult to forecast beyond 100 days.
”What we are experiencing in the last four to six weeks is such a strong revival. I can definitely speak for IHCL that our March, April and May (2022) business on the books is higher than March, April and May of 2019,” Chhatwal said.
He said the bounce back in the business is led by domestic demand as ”international is very limited for ‘bubble flights’ or OCI (overseas citizen of India)”.
While the international flights is scheduled to resume on March 27, he said it will be a low period as the best climate to come to India is between October and March.
”So there is some time, but the domestic demand has been very, very strong,” Chhatwal said.
When asked about the outlook for the new fiscal, he said, ”Let’s see, we don’t have visibility for more than 100 days but what is visible, I spoke about it. March, April, May (2022) looks better than March, April, May 2019. I cannot answer that question today, because of all the volatility and geopolitical sentiments around the world plus fear of the fourth wave of COVID-19.” On the long-term outlook of the hospitality industry, he said it ”is going to be far more positive than it ever was 5 to 10 years ago”.