OPEN APP
Home / Companies / People /  ‘Most countries are vying for the Indian traveller’

‘Most countries are vying for the Indian traveller’

Rajeev Menon, president of Marriott International, Asia Pacific excluding Greater China (APEC), said Asia Pacific was the hardest hit because most countries were in lockdown and because international travel was heavily restricted.Premium
Rajeev Menon, president of Marriott International, Asia Pacific excluding Greater China (APEC), said Asia Pacific was the hardest hit because most countries were in lockdown and because international travel was heavily restricted.

  • People may not have been paying too much attention to it, but resorts in India were really outperforming some of the city hotel counterparts in many cases.

Listen to this article

As people venture out again to satisfy their wanderlust, countries around the world are vying for the Indian traveller. Rajeev Menon, president of Marriott International, Asia Pacific excluding Greater China (APEC), said this is a very positive sign as the absence of travellers from China, the source of most of the world’s tourists, because of pandemic restrictions, is hurting tourism centres worldwide. Edited excerpts:

All of Asia was impacted by a series of lockdowns. Are there any signs of a recovery?

The tourism business was hit pretty hard across markets. Asia Pacific was the hardest hit because most countries were in lockdown and because international travel was heavily restricted. However, since about February and March this year, we have seen countries starting to open travel up. We are now seeing, in the last few months, over 2019, very strong growth numbers; forget good recovery instead, this is growth across India, and that’s predominantly driven by domestic travel.

In the Middle East, too, in the first quarter of this year, when it was fully open, our hotels’ recovery there, in terms of revenue per available room, was as high as 112%.

Did investments in hotels across India continue during this time?

Even through the last couple of years, while businesses took a big hit operationally, investments were still pretty strong. It was interesting to see that private equity, institutional, and family money was still coming in, in a strong way. Our team, just in the last 18 months, signed 27 deals in India.

How much did you have to focus on this resort segment during the pandemic? Did that become more important as a channel for growth in India?

There was definitely a shift because people were seeing that the demand for resorts was so strong. People may not have been paying too much attention to it, but resorts in India were really outperforming some of the city hotel counterparts in many cases. Before companies sent people to get out and about, people themselves were getting out. And so corporate travel took longer to come back, but domestic leisure globally came back firing. As a result, we’ve seen a sizable shift in investment dollars or into leisure destinations for all the right reasons.

For instance, we opened a Courtyard by Marriott in Delhi NCR. It’s an urban resort on the outskirts. We have seen rates are so strong for weddings and for leisure travel in this market. That’s where the domestic traveller is willing to get out and spend more to spend time with family and friends, and the so-called “me-space".

Are countries betting on Indian travellers?

As India continues to develop and as new airports come online, that’s where the opportunity sits. As long as there is good flight connectivity and good infrastructure, I see no reason not to continue developing hotels here. When we looked at China 50 years ago, it was really as infrastructure came into play that business followed.

Do you see airline fares and hotel tariffs falling?

Today, most airlines and hotels will tell you that the challenge is on the people’s front. Demand is outstripping supply in most cases. So, even though the rates are up, demand is strong. Airline prices are up, but there is still considerable travel. And I think this trend will easily remain for the rest of the year, if not till the first half of next year.

For the last couple of years, people have saved, and they’ve all got a bucket list of things they want to do. We saw domestic travel for short stays and international travel. I can tell you in most Southeast Asian countries, and even other markets, they’re all vying for the Indian traveller. 

Catch all the Corporate news and Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates & Live Business News.
More Less
Subscribe to Mint Newsletters
* Enter a valid email
* Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.
Close

Recommended For You

×
Edit Profile
Get alerts on WhatsApp
Set Preferences My ReadsWatchlistFeedbackRedeem a Gift CardLogout