For the travel and tourism sector the end of the decade saw greater emphasis on theindustry as a significant contributor to the overall global economy and employment. Astrong economy rising global consumer purchasing power and digital disruption was pavingthe way for a bright future and FY 2019/2020 was in fact a tipping point presentingtremendous potential for the sector.
However this buoyant sentiment was upended by a sudden outbreak of a pandemic that hashad no parallels in recent history in terms of scale and impact. The world was placedunder suspended animation and the industry was brought to a halt with estimated lossesat trillions and millions of jobs at risk. With the very foundation of the world alteredthe need of the hour is to see our industry and IHCL through the crisis with greaterurgency revised strategy and more agility (stragility).
It also calls for a greater need for communities to unite and support one another inthis time of need. Guided by our values as a Tata company our priority besides ensuringthe safety and security of our guests and employees was to help the community in anymanner we could. We are humbled to have been given the opportunity to be of service to thenation by providing over 2 Million meals to healthcare workers and migrant labourersthroughout the lockdown. Some of our hotels were also offered to doctors and healthcareworkers while some were converted into quarantine facilities.
A SILVER LINING - EVERY CRISIS ALSO PRESENTS AN OPPORTUNITY
The travel and tourism industry accounts for 10% of the global GDP and generates 1 outof 10 jobs. In India it is a significant contributor to GDP and also contributes 8.1% tothe overall workforce. Thus given its significance the industry will have a crucial roleto play in any economic revival and with tourism likely to look inwards in the new normalIndia is well placed with its rich heritage and cultural diversity.
With a 116-year legacy honed by Tata values our ability to consistently deliverindustry-leading growth while maintaining profitability and balance sheet strengthcombined with our business sense and thrift makes us resilient to disruptive challenges.
Change breeds innovation and in light of the current global scenario at IHCL we havedetailed a comprehensive five- point strategy - R.E.S.E.T 2020. This will not only caterto the rapidly changing market conditions shifting government policies and dynamiccustomer needs but will also focus on re-imagining business models implementing variousoperational excellence interventions required for safety and hygiene revenue enhancementand creating alternative sources of revenue through our well established hospitalityeco-system cost optimisation and other measures through utmost financial prudence.
SUSTAINABILITY LED BY PROFITABILITY
The relentless pursuit of our five-year strategy - Aspiration 2022 - has enabled us todeliver nine quarters of profitable growth in a row. In FY 2019-20 we recorded thehighest full-year PAT at Rs 354 Crore up 24% Y-O-Y; the highest full- year EBITDA at Rs1100 Crore up 20%; and a 406-basis-point expansion in EBITDA margin. Our balance sheetwas further strengthened by lowering net debt-to-EBITDA to 1.74.
We have made significant inroads in meeting our defined objectives within two years ofoutlining our aspirations. In order to drive asset-light growth we have restructured ourportfolio with management contracts now accounting for 42%. We have signed over 50 newhotels in the past two years reaching a milestone of 200 hotels with 25000+ rooms across100+ locations (excluding ama Stays and Trails) - 29 hotels were signed in the last fiscalalone.
STRONG BRAND VALUE
The overall positive outcome was further accelerated by Taj being rated as India'sStrongest Brand in Brand Finance's Brand Value Report - 'India 100 2020' report recently.
With a brand strength index (BSI) score of 90.5 out of 100 and AAA+ brand strengthrating it is a matter of pride and has further reinforced the brand's resonance andtrust among all our stakeholders.
RE-IMAGINING AND CONSOLIDATING OUR HOSPITALITY ECOSYSTEM
Even as we adapt to the new normal we will continue to re-imagine our multi-productmulti-segment brandscape to transform from a hotels business to a hospitality ecosystem.Our new brand - SeleQtions - along with the expansion of ama Stays & Trails acrossoffbeat locations offers distinct value propositions across demographics. Therepositioned Ginger recorded the highest number of rooms signed under any brand in Indiain FY 2019-20 and reached a milestone with the opening of the 50th Ginger hotel in Surat.
Our ancillary service brands perfectly complement our hospitality brands. The Chambers- Taj's exclusive business club - was relaunched with enhanced features and over 100 newmembers. In order to capture diverse customer segments we launched our salon brandniu&nau; and re-designed our F&B offerings with the recent launch of Qmin arepertoire of culinary experiences. An exclusive partnership with AB InBev for anindustry first on-site chain of microbreweries will see the first 7 Rivers brewpub openat Taj MG Road in Bengaluru shortly.
We also tied up with globally acclaimed Italian restaurant chain Paper Moon - itsfirst restaurant in India is due to launch in Goa.
We opened 12 hotels including Taj Fateh Prakash Palace in Udaipur; Taj Jumeirah LakesTowers in Dubai; Taj Tirupati - strengthening our presence in spiritual tourism; Taj Hotel& Convention Centre Goa - the largest convention venue in the state with Cidade De Goa- IHCL SeleQtions; Devi Ratn - IHCL SeleQtions in Jaipur and Ginger Surat. We alsoaugmented our development portfolio with multiple signings in the North East HaridwarThiruvananthapuram and Bhubaneshwar while readying the launch of a Vivanta prototype inBengaluru.
TAJNESS - A COMMITMENT RESTRENGTHENED
As we slowly but steadily embark on the path to recovery our hotels stand prepared towelcome guests back with an enhanced focus on hygiene and safety through exactingprotocols delivered with a renewed and restrengthened commitment to Tajness.
Although the new decade has begun on a challenging note history is testament to theresilience our company has demonstrated in the face of adversity. We are confident that wewill emerge stronger and more unified than ever. We will also have the opportunity tocreate a more positive impact and reshape the world together making it a better place forall who inhabit it.
Sustainability will remain at the core of all that we do. We will continue to give backto society by enabling livelihoods through skilling leverage our business value chain tosupport traditional art and heritage drive societal welfare through the Taj PublicWelfare Trust and carry out responsible sourcing of local products and materials.
Guided by our values of Trust Awareness and Joy we remain committed to deepening ourcollaborations and driving business performance in a responsible manner. This will ofcourse be impossible without the continued support of our patrons investors employeesand other stakeholders.
I thank you all for being the strongest pillars of our success.
Managing Director and CEO