Hotels may have to wait 12-18 months to get back pre-Covid occupancy

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KOLKATA: After losing business for nearly a quarter because of the lockdown, the hospitality sector gears up to reopen from June 8 with adequate safety protocols, and hopes to return to the pre-Covid levels within another12- 18 months, an industry official said, quoting an internal survey.
The sector also looks forward to get 20-30 per cent occupancy in June-August and may have to wait till the fourth quarter of this fiscal, January-March 2021, to reach the 50 per cent level, he said on Sunday.
In a guideline issued on Saturday, the Union home ministry said hotels and restaurants will be opened from June 8.
“We welcome the decision to reopen hotels. We had carried out an internal survey and it is found that hotels expect 20-30 per cent demand in the first quarter after lockdown, and to get around 50 per cent demand, they may have to wait till Q4 of the fiscal,” Hotel and Restaurant Association of Eastern India secretary Sudesh Poddar said.
“And it may take 12-18 months for the hotels to get back to the pre-Covid level occupancy,” Poddar told PTI.
In another survey of hotel general managers by HVS Anarock in April, 46 per cent of the respondents said occupancy would be below 40 per cent by Q4 of this financial year.
Some 42 per cent of the general managers who took part in the online survey were more optimistic and they believe that occupancy will reach 50 per cent or near it by the January-March quarter.
The survey was carried out among 180 hotels across categories, HVS South Asia President Mandeep S Lamba said.
According to HVS Anarock, in April, the occupancy in India was down by 81 per cent compared to April 2019.
Singapore had the least impact with just a shade below 30 per cent, followed by China, from where the pandemic originated, with 48 per cent.
However, even with such a drastic fall in occupancy, over 71 per cent of the GMs will not discount their rates by more than 20 per cent, the survey found.
In the top 13 markets of India, the average daily rate in April slipped by 27 per cent and revenue per available room was down by 86 per cent y-o-y.



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