The domestic hospitality industry is gearing up to make the most of full-fledged Christmas and New Year celebrations this time around after two years of washout by the pandemic, with rooms at many hotels and resorts already sold out.
As people seek to make up for the winter holidays lost to COVID-19, destinations like Karjat, Lonavala, Vizag, Dharamshala, Udaipur, Manali and Gir are witnessing good demand, apart from traditional popular places like Goa, Kerala and Shimla.
"The year-end festive season looks very positive and this year appears to be one of the best years so far for the hospitality sector," Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels Ltd Managing Director, Vijay Dewan told PTI in an e-mailed response.
He further said, "All our hotels are gearing up for sold out spaces along with high occupancy in rooms. This year we have lined up some great events during Christmas and New Year's which the guests missed out during the last 2 years due to the pandemic."
Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd (MHRIL) Managing Director and CEO Kavinder Singh, "If you really look at it this year, this Christmas and New Year will be the first proper Christmas-New Year after 2020...if I were to look at December occupancy, in some of our resorts we have no space for even a single room available in December because people have all booked up."
Even in 2021, he said the Christmas and New Year celebrations were marred after the outbreak of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19, which continued beyond January.
Now, Singh said, people are going to Coorg, Gir, Shimla, Manali beyond the usual destinations like Goa, while some are even travelling abroad to places like Singapore and Dubai.
There is a very high level of occupancy in the southern side, he said, adding in the western region locations like Alibaugh and Lonavala are already full.
"It's a very, very big momentum now in December and January, aided by the holiday season, and years of not being able to spend time in this period of the year with your loved ones, and that is really aiding the momentum in December and January," Singh said.
Rooms sold out months in advance
On the kind of demand coming from travellers, Hotel Association of India Vice President K B Kachru said, "We are finding dates getting sold out months in advance and lots of enthusiasm for innovative and creative offers that showcase the locale that the hotel is in, including its culture and cuisine given our unique and authentic culinary specialties across the country through our culinary ambassadors."
Kachru, who is also Chairman Emeritus and Principal Advisor, South Asia, Radisson Hotel Group, further said there is an uptick in demand for the upcoming wedding season as well.
"Our hotels across key leisure destinations, including Karjat, Lonavala, Vizag, Goa, Dharamshala, and Udaipur are geared up for welcoming guests," he added.
InterGlobe Hotels Head - Asset Management, Manoj Agarwal said, "We expect a healthy and robust room demand during the festive season for our leisure destinations. The ongoing travel patterns and trends have had a positive impact on the hospitality industry, and we are quite optimistic with our portfolio performance already surpassing our pre-COVID numbers."
Similarly, an OYO spokesperson said, "Based on advanced bookings for the upcoming holiday season between December 25-31, we are witnessing a 44 per cent rise in booking demand, led by leisure cities such as Goa, Hyderabad, Puri, Manali and Kolkata. Business travel is also showing strong signs of revival."
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