Bengal Cabinet Grants Industry Status to Hospitality Sector, Boosting Tourism and Job Creation

Bengal Cabinet Grants Industry Status to Hospitality Sector, Boosting Tourism and Job Creation

By Author

Published on November 16, 2023

In a landmark decision aimed at rejuvenating its tourism landscape and addressing employment challenges, the Bengal Cabinet has approved a proposal to confer industry status on the hospitality sector. This move, initiated by the state’s Tourism Department, is set to catalyze economic growth and revitalize Bengal’s tourism industry.

Key Benefits of the New Status

  • Electricity Bill Savings: Hotels in Bengal can now anticipate substantial savings on electricity costs, thanks to a shift to industrial power tariff rates. Estimates indicate potential savings of up to Rs 3 per unit, a significant relief given that electricity is often the second-largest expense for hotels.

  • Reduced Electricity Duty: With the new industry status, the hospitality sector will benefit from lower electricity duty, although the precise financial impact is yet to be fully quantified.

  • Lower Water Supply Costs: Hotels, which previously paid commercial rates for water, will now be charged at the more affordable industrial rates, further reducing operational expenses.

  • Decrease in License Fees and Taxes: The sector can also expect a reduction in various license fees and taxes, including property tax, easing the financial strain on hotel operators.

  • Enhanced Floor-Area Ratio (FAR): The improved FAR will allow for more extensive construction on given land parcels, likely

  • attracting more investors to develop hotels and related tourism facilities.

Sudesh Poddar, President of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of India’s Eastern Chapter, has expressed strong support for the decision, citing it as a long-standing demand. This move is anticipated to draw investors to the state's tourism sector and encourage the expansion of infrastructure.

With an eye on the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and ongoing job scarcity, the Bengal government views this development as a strategic approach to spur job creation. Investment in the hospitality sector is seen as a key driver for generating employment opportunities, considering Bengal’s rich tourism potential.

Tourism currently contributes about 13 percent to Bengal’s GDP, outpacing the national average. In 2022, Bengal welcomed over 1.04 million international tourists and 84.54 million domestic tourists. The industry status for hospitality is expected to further bolster these numbers.

The decision is poised to benefit the state's tourism industry, which employs over 15 lakh people. It also opens the door for major hotel chains to expand their presence in Bengal, enriching the state’s tourism offerings. Samrat Sanyal, General Secretary of the Himalayan Hospitality & Tourism Development Network, praised the decision for its potential to elevate the tourism sector.

The Bengal Cabinet's decision to grant industry status to the hospitality sector marks a significant step forward in enhancing the state's tourism and hospitality landscape. This move is expected to bring about a wave of positive changes, including increased investment, job creation, and overall economic upliftment in the region.


CII and Hyatt Hotels Launch 18-Month Hospitality Diploma with EHL in India

CII and Hyatt Hotels Launch 18-Month Hospitality Diploma with EHL in India

By Nithyakala Neelakandan

Published on July 18, 2024

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has teamed up with Hyatt Hotels and Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) to launch an 18-month Vocational Education and Training (VET) Swiss Professional Diploma programme aimed at enhancing skills in the Indian hospitality sector. The programme is open to students who have completed their Class 12 and will be conducted at top Hyatt properties in Delhi NCR and Lucknow, including Hyatt Regency (Delhi), Hyatt Regency (Lucknow), Andaz (Delhi), and Grand Hyatt (Gurugram).

This initiative comes as part of CII’s ongoing efforts to equip students with practical skills and job placements. Currently, more than 500 students are undergoing similar training across various hotels in India. Successful graduates of the Swiss Professional Diploma are assured job placements by CII.

Sunjae Sharma, Managing Director for India and Southwest Asia at Hyatt Hotels, said “At a time when India is emerging as a global leader in the hospitality industry, there is significant growth potential for the youth of India who choose the VET by EHL programme, offered by the Confederation of Indian Industry. We are proud to be the first international hotel chain company in India to collaborate with CII and EHL for this initiative and to contribute to training a new generation of hoteliers. I am confident that the learning and training imparted at Hyatt will enable these young minds to stand out in this competitive sector and achieve their dreams.”

Aman Aditya Sachdev, Director and Regional Head at EHL for South Asia, Middle East, and Myanmar, commented, “The VET by EHL program is based on principles of the world-renowned Swiss Competency Framework and has been developed by EHL subject matter experts and faculty members, as well as with global industry feedback. The objective of the program is to prepare the youth worldwide for frontline job roles in the hospitality industry at global standards. Students of the program in India will be at a significant advantage with future employers, in global mobility and in their career progression. They will acquire the relevant knowledge and competencies required by the industry at par with international programs. We are excited to launch the VET by EHL program today at multiple Hyatt Hotels across India. The program shall be delivered in coordination with the CII Institute of Hospitality; CII and EHL have established a long-term strategic partnership in India for the skilling of the youth for the hospitality sector.”

Sougata Roy Choudhury, Executive Director at CII, said “With the rapidly expanding hospitality industry in India and many other countries, there is an unprecedented requirement of skilled professionals. Also, the youths’ interest in long duration courses is dwindling. Hence, CII, as an Industry body has stepped in to bridge this gap through the VET by EHL Swiss Professional Diploma initiative, that offers practical training by industry experts at renowned and luxurious Hyatt hotels. We ensure students are job-ready from day one, and upon completing this 18-month diploma, they secure placements in top hotels and restaurants worldwide.”

The VET by EHL programme is structured into three levels of learning: Foundation, Intermediate, and Advanced, covering Culinary, Food & Beverage Service, and Rooms. Each level builds on the previous one, culminating in a Professional Diploma. Students will have access to a global Learning Management System and will be assessed on both theoretical and practical skills. Additionally, graduates will join the VET by EHL Global Alumni Network and have the option to pursue a UGC-recognized degree.

Eligibility for the programme requires students to have completed their 12th standard with at least 50% marks in English from a recognized board in India.

For more information, interested individuals can contact CII via phone at 8700554435, email at admissions@ciiskills.in, or visit the website at www.ciiih.com.


Surge in Accommodation Demand for 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris

Surge in Accommodation Demand for 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris

By Nithyakala Neelakandan

Published on July 18, 2024

As the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris approaches, the hospitality sector is experiencing a significant surge in demand for accommodations. Both Sojern and Amadeus have provided valuable insights into the trends and data surrounding this increased interest, highlighting the global excitement for the event and its impact on travel and lodging.

Airbnb has reported an astonishing 400% increase in bookings for the Paris region during the upcoming Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. This surge reflects the heightened global interest in the event, with travelers from over 160 countries and regions already securing their stays in and around Paris. Additionally, the number of active Airbnb listings in the Paris region has grown by 40% as of March 31, significantly boosting the availability of accommodations for guests.

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According to Amadeus’ Demand360+® business intelligence data, hotel occupancy rates in France are seeing notable increases. For the week of July 28, 2024, hotel occupancy rates are up 86% compared to the same week last year, and up 88% for the first week of August. In Paris, hotels are nearing full capacity with an occupancy rate of 81% for the week of July 28 and 76% for the week of August 4. These figures indicate that travelers planning last-minute trips may face challenges in securing accommodations.

The rise in accommodation demand is not limited to Paris. Lille, which will host basketball and handball events, is experiencing a dramatic increase in bookings. Visitor numbers to Lille are set to more than quadruple, with overall bookings up by 203% compared to last summer. This includes a 300% increase in domestic travelers and a 181% rise in international visitors.

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Marseille and Bordeaux, hosting sailing and football events, respectively, are also seeing significant spikes in bookings. Both cities report a 38% increase in bookings, indicating that travelers are eager to explore beyond the capital city.

While international travelers flock to Paris, many Parisians are choosing to escape the city during the Olympics. Hotel bookings by Parisians traveling to other parts of France are up 49% during the Olympic season compared to 2023. Popular destinations for these staycations include Lille, Nice, Corsica, Lyon, and Toulouse. This trend offers hoteliers in these regions an opportunity to attract local tourists and capitalize on the increased demand.

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Despite the surge in demand, the average daily rate (ADR) for hotels in Paris is down 13% at $724 USD, and down 7% at $616 USD for the rest of France, compared to an earlier analysis on April 1, 2024. This decline in ADR suggests that travelers might still find reasonably priced accommodations if they book early.

The 2024 Summer Olympics are not only bringing a global audience to Paris but also driving travel and accommodation demand across the country. Whether through traditional hotels or alternative accommodations like Airbnb, visitors are eager to be part of this historic event, as evident from the reports.

Image credits: iStock, Unsplash, olympics.com


Travel Demand for France Surges Ahead of 2024 Summer Olympics

Travel Demand for France Surges Ahead of 2024 Summer Olympics

By Nithyakala Neelakandan

Published on July 17, 2024

The Olympics is one of the global events that can significantly boost both travel and advertising sectors. This year, spending on advertisements for events such as the Super Bowl, Olympics, and European Championship is projected to hit $61 billion. These events not only increase ad revenues but also drive substantial travel demand. For instance, flight bookings to Singapore surged by 63% before the F1 Grand Prix, and trips to Qatar were booked well in advance of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Such events also maintain interest in host destinations long after they conclude. Following the Qatar World Cup, international lodging searches in the country rose by 79-255%.

Similarly, scheduled from July 26 to August 11, 2024, the Olympics is expected to attract 10,500 athletes from 206 countries, marking the largest event ever hosted in France.

Paris Sees a Spike in Flight Bookings

Paris is already a top tourist destination, with 6.3 million visitors to the Eiffel Tower in 2023 alone. The upcoming Olympics are set to enhance this popularity. Since tickets for the 33rd Olympic Games went on sale on November 30, 2023, flight bookings to Paris have increased by 125% compared to the same period last year. Most travelers plan to depart the city as soon as the Olympics end, suggesting many come from countries like the United States, where extended leave is uncommon. The average trip length has shortened to 11 days from 13.2 days in 2023, indicating that the games are influencing travel plans.

Paris remains a favorite summer destination, especially for American travelers. During the Olympic period, 23.8% of flight bookings to Paris are from the United States, followed by Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Spain. The U.S. also led the medal counts in the 2016 and 2020 Olympics, likely contributing to the high demand.

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Leveraging Increased Travel Demand

Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) can benefit from the heightened travel interest by using continuous, multichannel marketing strategies. Noreen Henry, Chief Revenue Officer at Sojern, said “By using the right channels throughout the year—not just seasonally—DMOs can reach travelers in the moment and inspire them to think beyond sporting events. Not only do always-on, multichannel campaigns give DMOs better insights, but these types of campaigns enable them to maximize their budgets, do more with less, and get in front of travelers at every stage of the planning cycle.”

Travel Data from Amadeus Shows Significant Increases

Amadeus, a leading provider of travel technology, also reports a surge in travel interest. As of June 6, 2024, international air travel to France is up 56% for the Olympic period from July 24 to August 13. Domestic air travel within France has increased by 31%. Paris, in particular, is expecting 72% more travelers than the same period last year. The Paralympics, from August 28 to September 8, will boost travel to Paris by 16%, especially from the United States, Spain, and Canada.

Lille, hosting basketball and handball events, anticipates a 203% increase in visitors compared to last summer, with domestic travel growing by 300% and international travel by 181%. Bordeaux, hosting football, and Marseille, hosting sailing and football, also see significant increases in bookings, both up by 38%.

With the Olympics approaching, the hospitality sector in France is gearing up for a busy season, driven by substantial increases in both international and domestic travel bookings.

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