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CWG fails to boost tourist traffic in Delhi and hotel bookings do not pick up


7 September 2010

Unfinished Games sites, traffic jams and dengue put off potential tourists.

Hotels may be forced to rethink the hike of 15-20% on lean bookings.

The Commonwealth Games, 2010 were expected to provide a big boost to the fortunes of hoteliers in Delhi. However, the unfinished Games sites, traffic jams and the spread of dengue are proving to be major dampeners for the city hotels, which are not receiving any fresh advance bookings.

Worse still, these hoteliers, who had raised tariffs by 15-20 per cent, may now be forced to give these rates a rethink if bookings do not pick up soon.

According to an official of the Hotel Association of India, by August 30, only 2,000 rooms have been booked out of the nearly 17,000 available in various hotels in Delhi.

The Commonwealth Games are expected to attract about one lakh tourists to Delhi. However, that number now seems to be a complete miscalculation.

The recent spread of the dreaded dengue fever has put off many potential tourists who were planning to visit the city.

For many potential tourists, security is another big scare.

Delhi's major hotels have all seen many last minute cancellations.

"There has been some cancellation of bookings. Those who have already booked rooms are now talking of postponing their travel plans. Even the booking queries are not as we had expected. Forget the boost, rather all this has marred the business," said a senior executive at The Lalit, who did not wish to be named.

Seeing the rising cancellation requests The Lalit has raised its room tariffs and has said there would be no refunds for cancellation of bookings made for the period October 3-14.

"The Games were supposed to present the best of the city. But the lack of preparedness has shown its worst . So the Games has lost its attraction and people want to avoid the city during this period," said another official at The Oberoi hotel in New Delhi.

In a marketing push, the Trident has started a customer loyalty programme for its Delhi hotels and is sending out email invites. However, even weeks after the initiative the results are not very encouraging.

Meanwhile, hoteliers have increased their tariffs by 10-15 per cent. "The tariffs will go up marginally from September onwards," Ajoy Misra, senior vice-president (sales and marketing) Taj Group of Hotels, said. However, he refused to divulge any details.

Others have also increased the rates. Royal Orchid, The Lalit and Oberoi have hiked tariffs for the period October 3-20. Most of the hotels said they are waiting till mid-September for more bookings. Only after that will they revise rates, if required.

"They are charging 15-20 per cent higher for the Games period.

I generally visit Delhi during October as it is a nice time to visit. But with increased tariffs and the traffic mess, I am postponing my trip to Delhi to December till the mess clears up," Devyani Ghosh, an IT professional based in the US, said.

Reproduced From Mail Today. Copyright 2010. MTNPL. All rights reserved.