`But business will not be hit in the long run'

Elina Mohanty

Mumbai, July 13

The hospitality industry, on a robust growth path, has been impacted by Tuesday's serial bomb explosions on Mumbai's suburban railway network.

Food and beverages business has been down by 15 per cent and hotel room bookings have been affected by over 10 per cent, said Mr Sanjeev Shekhar, General Manager, Marine Plaza.

There have been cancellations of about 10 per cent, he added. Marine Plaza is a business hotel in South Mumbai, facing the sea.

"Several banquets have been postponed, though the hotel is taking extensive measures to ensure the security of guests," he said.

However, the impact would be limited as business is expected to be strong overall during this fiscal.

"Terrorism is a global issue. London and Madrid have also experienced it. There will not be any significant fall in the business of the hotel industry in the long run," a spokesperson of Oberoi Hotels said.

"As long as the Indian economy continues to boom, the hospitality sector will see profits. These blasts will not have a severe impact on this sector," Mr Girish Rao, spokesperson for Leela Hotels, said.

Hotel Leela, close to Mumbai's international airport, did not witness major cancellations or postponements, he said.

Business hotels affected

As Mumbai is a centre for business visitors, the impact has been felt mainly in business hotels.

"There has been around 10 per cent cancellations over the past two weeks, due to the Mumbai rains as well as the serial blasts," said Ms Delyse Braganza, Vice-President, marketing and sales, Orchid Hotel. On a normal day, the cancellations are between 1 per cent and 2 per cent. Orchid Hotel, a business hotel, is located near the domestic airport of the city.

"The food and beverages business suffered significantly on the evening of the blasts and even after it," she said.

"By and large, suburban hotels have faced cancellations after the blasts," said a spokesperson of a city hotel.

Standalone hotels would feel the downturn of cancellations more severely than hotel groups.

Beefing up security

Most of the hotels are beefing up their security by installing cameras and through security review measures.

"The Taj Hotels in Mumbai remained unaffected and fully operational during the blasts. Security measures have been stepped up across all our hotels and efforts are being made to ensure the safety and comfort of all our guests," said a spokesperson. No significant cancellations had been received at its hotels in Mumbai or across this region, he said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated July 14, 2006)
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