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‘Resorts are seeing increased demand’

The hospitality industry will have to wait up to two years to pop the champagne. While domestic travel will recover as restrictions are lifted, the international segment will be vital for the industry to achieve business levels of pre-Covid times. In the meantime, Marriott International senior vice-president (South Asia) Neeraj Govil wants a sector-specific stimulus package as it would offer some respite to the bruised industry...

How far would you say has your business returned to normal?

While the industry is resilient, and the long-term viability is strong, normalcy in the business is some way off. Current levels are fuelled by special purpose business, some essential business travel, staycations, social events within prescribed guidelines, and food delivery. Resort locations that have been allowed to resume operations are beginning to see increased demand as are many tier-2 cities.

How do you get new business amid the pandemic?

We recently launched our staycation campaign that allows our guests to custom-make their package. While we move to contactless service and operations, the core of our business — which is hospitality — will continue in all its authenticity as we aim to deliver human-centric experiences while mitigating risks along the way.

When do you expect the situation to go back to pre-Covid times?

It is hard to say and, based on most estimates, we are looking at 18-24 months. It will depend on when a vaccine or cure can be administered, economies around the world rebound and travel can resume to pre-Covid levels. International travel will be key to the timing of this panning out. Domestic travel will lead the recovery as restrictions are lifted. International travel will be vital for us to achieve business levels of pre-Covid times.

What additional steps are required from the government?

Tourism as an industry contributes about 9% of GDP and is a major job creator. From an industry standpoint, the request is that we see a sector-specific relief package that can offer respite to our business and ensure continuity, especially in the short term, easing of fiscal policies, facilitating the rebound of travel and collaborating to support destination marketing.

Source : Times Of India

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