Anuj Puri, Chairman – ANAROCK Property Consultants:
India’s hospitality sector will definitely be impacted by the announcement of a global pandemic, and the mounting numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country.
The cancellation of visas for foreigners as well as the strong advice issued to Indians to refrain from unnecessary travel will have a marked effect. This is the most unsettling healthcare crisis in recent times and hotel bookings will go south. Luxury hotels will be hit especially hard by cancellations and significantly reduced bookings by rich but inherently skittish foreign tourists and businesspeople.
Domestically, things don’t look much better. Hotels cannot count on the annual uptick in bookings on the back of vacation time and the wedding season. That said, budget hotels may suffer less in the short-term because of very attractive discounts on flight and hotel bookings. Nevertheless, mass cancellations are definitely on the charts as both international and domestic tourists turn risk-averse. Only time will tell when the tide will turn, but a lot depends on factors which the hospitality industry cannot control.
Paradoxically, this crisis comes close on the heels of the Government announcing the development of 17 new tourist sites into global-grade destinations.