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2018-Mixed bag for city’s star hotels

Aditya Sabharwal
The year of 2018 has  been a mixed bag for the hospitality industry in the port city of Visakhapatnam. With increased room inventory and fewer national/international events the city’s hotels have rather had a subdued year.
‘This year has been a bit dull for us compared to the previous years’ said Mr Jaydeep Biswas, GM of The Park Hotel.
Concurs Mr Rajesh Gopalakrishnan, GM, Novotel Vizag and cites the absence of major national and international events like the IFR and other mega events for a lackluster 2018.
Airport Connectivity
Airport connectivity is often brought out as one of the top 3 points when one talks about the tourism potential.
‘Airport connectivity plays a critical part for tourists wanting to visit a city. And if you want tourists from all over the world to come and visit here then you got to have more direct international connections’ said Mr Gopalakrishnan. He calls for a concerted effort from all the stakeholders involved.
Agrees Mr Kiran Busari GM of Gateway hotel, more coordination is needed between the hotels, tour operators and the tourism ministry to showcase the vast opportunities the region has to offer.
‘The minute you land in Hong Kong right from the airport staff who receive you to the hotel you are staying at all of them are aligned towards enhancing the tourism potential’ said Mr Busari.
Lack of Basic Amenities
One of the main reasons cited for the failure of attracting foreign tourists here is the lack of adequate infrastructure.
‘A Tourism eco-system is missing here’ says Mr S Prasanth, President of the AP Hotels & Restaurants Association and GM of Hotel Daspalla.
‘From the Buddha circuit to the breathtaking sea views to the serene Lambasingi there are some amazing places for tourists to visit here however lack of basic infrastructure has often let us down. From dearth of toilets to finding something as basic as hygienic drinking water in some of these places is what deters tourists to visit these places’ stated Mr Prasanth.
Excess Inventory
He further cites slow industrial growth in the city for not keeping pace with the ever increasing room inventory.
In a year there are only 50-60 days when the entire room inventory of Vizag is sustainable. Rest of the year is pretty bleak said the president of the AP hotels and restaurants association. ‘Also how many MoUs have actually materialized into operations over these years’ quipped Mr Prasanth.
GST
Overall GST has been seen as an enabler for the sector. Since July this year there has been much needed clarity in GST in regards to room tariff said the GM of Novotel.
‘Rooms that are priced at or below Rs 7499/- are subject to 18% GST while rooms that are priced at or above Rs 7500/- are taxed at 28% GST informed Mr Gopalakrishnan.

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