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Hotels look to domestic visitors this festive season

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'Khushboo Ki' campaign to help increase business.

anticipate increased occupancy during this festive season in Gujarat with their focus more on domestic visitors than foreigners. The occupancy ratio at star-category hotels is expected to see sharp rise from 60-62 per cent at present to about 70-75 per cent during the four months of festivities during October-January.

Financial uncertainty in Europe and US has raised concerns of a possible fall in tourist footfalls from those countries. However, tourists from Japan, Australia and South Korea are likely to visit the state during the festive months.

"Hotels are doing good and we expect about 10-15 per cent growth in business over last year. However, this time more of domestic visitors are expected than foreigners as US and Europe seem to be in bad shape. Gujarat has higher industrial activities clubbed with good tourism promotion, which is believed to attract more tourists this season," said S P Jain, former president of Hotel and Restaurant Association (Western India) and MD, Pride Hotels.

Gujarat government's promotional campaign under, 'Khushboo Gujarati Ki', is believed to attract good number of tourists from other parts of the country. "Nearly 5-7 per cent of an additional growth in tourist arrivals is expected mainly due to the state government's promotional campaign. We expect domestic tourists visiting places like pilgrims and other tourist spots this festive season," said Narendra Somani, chairman and managing director, Bhagwati Banquets and Hotels.

Increased tourist inflow is believed to raise room occupancy ratio in the state thereby generating more business for hotels.

"Room occupancy ratio at the star-category hotels will see sharp increase from 60 per cent at present to more than 75 per cent during festive months," said Somani, who is also the president of Gujarat Hotels and Restaurants Association.

However, availability of hotel infrastructure in state seems to be pushing pressure on the room tariffs thereby making the competition more fierce. "Newer capacity addition in the star-category hotels is creating tariff-war between hotels. Room tariffs have already fallen by about 10 per cent against last year. Going forward, there could be more pressure on tariffs with new capacities becoming operational within a year," said Ashwin Gandhi, director of Express Hotels at Vadodara.

Cities like Ahmedabad, Surat and Vadodara are likely to get large number of new room capacities during current fiscal.

Therefore, festive season is also seen as an opportunity to generate maximum possible business as from next year onwards, the occupancy ratio is believed to fall due to increased room capacities.

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