The Hotel Association of India (HAI), the apex body of the hotel industry, on Monday has appointed former secretary, Ministry of Tourism Madan Prasad Bezbaruah as the secretary general. The appointment comes in the backdrop of industry dealing Coronavirus outbreak that has left the sector in untenable circumstances. Bezbaruah succeeds R K Puri, a senior bureaucrat and first director of tourism, railway board and instrumental in the conceptualisation and launch of “Palace on Wheels".
Puneet Chhatwal, president of HAI and managing director and chief executive, Indian Hotels Company Limited said that it is now time to devise ways in which the hotel industry can evolve from the covid-19 crisis and work towards building a roadmap that helps in the recovery of hospitality business and long-term sustainability.
"It gives me immense pleasure to welcome Bezbaruah. With his vast experience dealing with the complexities of the tourism industry, he will be able to guide the association in the right direction and help us to achieve our collective aim to resurrect the hotel industry. We would also like to thank RK Puri for leading HAI for the last 23 years," he added.
Bezbaruah is a senior bureaucrat with close to four decades of experience working in the circle of power – both at the Centre and State. He has held important government positions nationally and internationally like home secretary Assam, minister (Economic) in the High Commission of India, London, principal adviser in the Planning Commission of India and secretary in the Ministry of Tourism for five years. He is the only Indian civil servant to be elected as chairman of Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA). After his retirement, he was a member of the strategic group of UNWTO, banking ombudsman for the Reserve Bank of India and member North Eastern Council.
Meanwhile, HAI said that it has devised 2020 strategy which will rest on three pillars : creating an ecosystem that works on greater collaboration with influencers and opinion makers; deepening reach through a hub-and-spoke model to establish presence and prominence for HAI in regional markets thus creating influence for the benefit of the local economy; initiate inclusive programs that protect and promote the interests of small, medium operators and the larger employee base of the hotel industry contributing to the revival of the hotel industry.