The beleaguered hospitality sector has welcomed the government's decision to allow hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services to re-open from June 8. Apex industry body Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) said it is a welcome move, but more clarity on guidelines is required.
"It is a welcome move. But there is no clarity on guidelines. There should be proper coordination between the centre and states on these. It is good move for the hotels and restaurants which do not serve liquor," FHRAI Vice President Gurbaxish Singh Kohli told.
On one hand liquor is not being allowed to be served, on the other hand the state governments continue to demand excise license fees for the entire year, he added.
"We welcome the decision of the MHA to segregate containment and non-containment zones for kickstarting the economic activities in F&B. This is very logical decision to make. It is important to kickstart the economy with adequate safeguards in safer places, while continuing with the lockdown in more severely impacted zones," National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) President Anurag Katriar said.
However, NRAI fails to understand the logic of keeping out bars from the purview of permitted activities and the same must be permitted as well, he added.
"We now await to engage with various state governments to put together stringent safeguards to ensure safe environment for our consumers and employees. As a responsible industry body, we had voluntarily closed down our business in larger health risks to our guests and employees and we will like all safeguards to be in place before we open our restaurants again," Katriar said.
It must also not be forgotten that the current permitted hours of business is also very limited and needs to be extended further in due course, he added.
"The government's move to open up the sector makes eminent sense. It makes sense to start hotel operations close on the heels of allowing airlines to fly. However, the state government must also act in consonance with Centre in opening up of sectors including hospitality," Roseate Hotels & Resorts ED Ankur Bhatia said.
A little more extension of lockdown would have done irreversible economic damage, he added.
"We are looking forward to resuming operations within government guidelines. We have instituted strict hygiene and sanitisation protocols across all our hotels....," Zubin Saxena, MD and VP Operations, South Asia, Radisson Hotel Group said.
Apart from hygiene, the group's go forward business model is concentrated on leveraging the synergies of its network, which will work in a sustainable manner to ensure business uplift overtime, he added.
"This is a welcome move by the government. We have been ready with our new safety and hygiene protocol - Sterling Cares - and will be ready to welcome guests in resorts in green areas such as Puri, Goa, munnar, thekkady, Wayanad, Karwar, subject to state government directions on the matter," Sterling Holiday Resorts Chairman and MD Ramesh Ramanathan said.
In similar vein, EaseMyTrip Founder and CEO Nishant Pitti said this move will further enhance the sentiments in the industry and is welcomed with open arms.
"With both hotels and restaurants resuming their operations, this will provide a relief to the hospitality sector but owing to high rentals and low demand, I expect that around 50 per cent of the restaurants will still not resume their operations," he added.
Although restaurants contributed around 20 per cent of the revenue received from travellers, this business will slowly come to pace with the increase in positive sentiments among people, Pitti said.
"We are excited about the government's decision to open hotels and restaurants with restrictions from June 8. At Chalet Hotels, we are happy to welcome our guests and employees back with a stronger commitment to their safety and health," Chalet Hotels MD and CEO Sanjay Sethi said.
"These announcements have come at an appropriate time to ensure the hospitality sector can start preparing up its infrastructure to follow norms and once again welcome guests with all protocols in place," Amatra Hotels & Resorts Corporate GM Gaurav Taneja said.