Tourists skip metros as hotel rates rise


NEW DELHI (TVLW) – Rising rates of hotel rooms, especially in the metropolitan cities, is forcing international leisure tourists to make their visits to these cities shorter or skip them altogether. While traditionally India has been a destination for long stays for international leisure tourists especially for European tourists, from an average 17-20 days, the average stay in India has been cut short to just 7-11 days.

Says Cox & Kings India, executive director, Arup Sen: “The tourism circuits in India would undergo a change. For instance, recently a Spanish incentive group landed in Delhi and drove 5-6 hours to Jaipur instead of staying in Delhi for the night, only to come back to Delhi for a sight-seeing trip without checking into a hotel. There are indications that the number of nights in India has already undergone a drop and it is primarily due to high room rates.”

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According to industry sources, Delhi and the Golden Triangle which includes Agra and Rajasthan is the largest tourist hub and contributes nearly 18% to the total inbound tourists. This particular belt has been most impacted largely because of steep rise in hotel fares in Delhi. Similarly, Mumbai’s growing hotel fares (considered the gateway for Gujarat and sometimes for Kerala) has also lead to shorter visit spans by foreign tourists.

Says Sunit Suri, CEO-inbound, Travel Corporation (India): “Rising room rates particularly hits the leisure traveller as they foot their own bill unlike a corporate traveller. India has become a very expensive destination and we are constantly losing business to other south-east Asian countries like Singapore and China.”

A room in cities like Delhi or Mumbai on an average costs Rs 18,000 per night. Tour operators believe that a tourist can stay three nights at any non-metro city for the same cost. Agrees Indian Tour Operators Association (IATO) president Subhash Goyal: “The room rates have had a huge impact on inbound traffic. A leisure tourist comes to India to pamper himself or herself and a long drive, after a long flight, is simply not done for them.The impact is more on Delhi and Rajasthan and lesser on states like Kerala and Goa.”