Hospitality sector on high alert amid Omicron threat, warns industry experts

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India’s pandemic-battered hotel industry is on high alert but is not yet panicking over the Omicron variant threatening to derail business prospects for the winter holiday season, according to industry players. ‘industry.

With states imposing restrictions on gatherings for Christmas and New Years celebrations, hoteliers and restaurateurs are however considering possible cancellations of reservations even though they are hoping for some government support like what the UK government has done. for the industry there.

Aashish Gupta, CEO of the Federation of Indian Tourism and Hospitality Associations (FAITH), said there is uncertainty within the industry as to the impact of the Omicron variant with different inputs coming from different places concerning its gravity and speed of propagation.

The first scene is that everyone is in alert mode but there is no panic mode because the information itself does not create a panic. Information is like waiting and watching, ” Gupta said PTI.

Calling the situation dynamic, he said in terms of bookings around Christmas and New Years, there aren’t many cancellations yet because “the news is not creating these states of panic.”

If the information changes overnight, over the next 24 hours to 48 hours, then all the action around the holidays and New Years will change immediately. All of a sudden you will see a bit of cancellation. So everyone is very alert. It’s about waiting and monitoring the situation, ” he said.

Commenting on states imposing restrictions on mass gatherings for Christmas and New Years following the emergence of the Omicron variant, Gupta said governments have put caps based on information they have and the industry hotel manager would agree but “in fact it will put a damper on their business”.

If the ceilings around the celebrations of how many people gather across the country, he said, “the business and plans that everyone has been waiting for nearly 20 months will be really affected.”

Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) vice president Gurbaxish Singh Kohli said there has already been an impact with states imposing restrictions on the number of people who can to gather.

“These can have a very huge impact, because last week we saw a resurgence, a kind of hope for survival,” he said, adding “Omicron is here and we’re really confused about to what’s going to happen. ”

When it comes to hotel room reservations, it has never increased. There was only 30% occupancy and there is no pickup, he said.

Seeking government help for the sector, he said the UK government had already announced a £ 1 billion package for the industry there, but that in India “there is no such or such. a fraction of an ad here “.

Lamenting the lack of support from the government, he said: “The little that we have been looking forward to is lost again”.

Following the emergence of the Omicron variant, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) asked district magistrates to ensure that no Christmas and New Year gatherings take place in the nation’s capital, although the restaurants and bars be allowed to operate up to 50 percent. capacity, while wedding-related gatherings are permitted with a maximum of 200 people in attendance.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) also said that prior authorization is now required for any program or event in which 200 or more people participate. Covered rooms can operate at 50% of their total capacity, while open-air rooms will only operate at 25% of their total capacity.

Likewise, the government of Karnataka has banned parties or mass gatherings in the state from December 30 to January 2, although clubs and restaurants are only allowed to have 50% capacity.

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Posted on: Thursday December 23, 2021 4:40 PM IST

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