Published: July 14, 2020 1:57:00 am
Union Minister for Commerce and Industry and Railways Piyush Goyal on Monday encouraged hotel owners to take a step towards “Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India)” and refrain from importing furniture and tiles for renovation work.
In a live interaction with members of Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) on Facebook, Goyal addressed the leaders of the apex body of the Indian hospitality industry, a sector that had taken a major battering amid the Covid-19 pandemic and the consequent lockdown.
FHRAI members told Goyal that average room revenue had almost been reduced to zero. While bookings for 2020 had been cancelled, those for 2021 were nowhere in sight. They added that while to reboot their business, renovations would only be carried out indoors with furniture being replaced among others, the loss of revenue had left hotel owners in the lurch.
“The industry has not received any kind of stimulus or support… At present, we are in dire need of working capital to survive and then only can we revive. Across the country, approximately 50,000 rooms have been allocated for healthcare workers and 4,000 of our member hotels have joined hands with state and central authorities, allowing their hotels to be converted into quarantine facilities. Restaurants, too, have been doing their bit by distributing food packets to the needy,” said Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, vice-president of FHRAI.
The federation asked Goyal to take action against online hotel booking portals that have allegedly resorted to market distortion and dominance on the back of international funding, severely affecting small hotels. Goyal said he will ask government officials to look into the matter and seek a report in three weeks.
The FHRAI also urged the minister to restart suburban railway and Metro services in Mumbai to enable hotel employees to travel to their workplaces. Goyal, however, said that unlocking of services will be gradual and cautious. “We have to strike a balance between lives and livelihood,” he added.
Maintaining that the industry must resort to “Atmachintan (introspection)” and come up with specific ideas to find solutions to their problems, Goyal said he was building a hotel in Gandhinagar and going forward, he will adhere to the idea of a Atmanirbhar Bharat.
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