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Monday, 25 May, 2020, 12 : 00 PM [IST]

Associations appeal government for graded opening of hotels

Tourism and hospitality associations have made fresh appeals to the government to allow a calibrated, graded opening of hotels even as confusion loomed large on Sunday about resumption of flight operations and passengers stared at the possibility of getting stranded at airports, reports Economic Times.

"We have sent new requests through CII. But, the coordination has not materialised. They announced they will start flights from May 25, but no new directions were given to hotels. We have rooms for quarantining at our hotel and can take in stranded passengers, but smaller cities may not have operational hotels that are offering these services as flights land there. Not all hotels are offering these services," said Ankur Bhatia, Executive Director, Bird Group.

 "There is a strong chance that people get stuck now. Hotels opening in a graded manner should have been a must with flights. If passengers are going on official or business trips, where would they stay," he added.

Hotels and other hospitality services continue to remain prohibited in phase four as per the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) order except those meant for housing police and government officials, healthcare workers and stranded persons including tourists and those offering quarantine facilities.

Hotels have been offering quarantining services and have set aside rooms on being asked to do so by local state authorities.

CII's National Committee on Tourism and Hospitality headed by former ITC Hotels CEO Dipak Haksar had sent a letter to the tourism ministry for assistance on the matter. "The people who will fly would require accommodation to stay. The calibrated opening of the sector can start with tourism and hospitality activities in a graded manner. The sector assures that it will comply with all government guidelines and SOPs,” wrote Haksar in the letter dated May 21.

Haksar has also sent a separate letter to the ministry of finance seeking the MSME tag for companies with a turnover of up to INR 250 crore and an extension on moratorium of loans till the end of FY2021.

On Sunday, industry body Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) also sent letters to the tourism ministry and NITI Aayog seeking a resumption of operations in calibrated manner as flights take off on Monday.

“We seek the Ministry’s support by way of allowing the hospitality establishments to restart their operations as has been done in almost every other country in the world. Rooms and places to eat and drink will be required as soon as people start travelling. The ministry of civil aviation has given its go ahead to airlines to start their operations from May 25 in a calibrated manner. To supplement the initiative the hospitality and tourism fraternity would be glad to extend its best possible support.

Patu Keswani, Chairman, Lemon Tree Hotels, which is offering quarantining services for asymptomatic travellers in some cities and is accommodating stranded passengers said the Hotel Association of India has made an appeal and while there is no response on that there are enough hotels open to take care of passengers who need to be quarantined. "But I don't know what's happening across India. I think it should not be a problem for now as flights taking off are few," he said.

Pradeep Shetty, Honorary Secretary, FHRAI said the association has also written to states on the matter.

“That is all we can do. This was our concern that some states might insist on quarantining and some may not. There was no new directive on hotels when flight operations were announced."

Nishant Pitti, CEO of EaseMyTrip said most of the queries to the chain were around flights operating from airports, if quarantining was compulsory after arrivals, and if passengers were entitled to a refund in case they are asked to go back from the airports.


 
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