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Disappointed with the budget for Hospitality Sector, FHRAI seeks meeting with the Prime Minister

Thursday, February 11, 2021, 10:00 Hrs  [IST]

After being completely ignored in the latest Union Budget 2021, the Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) has written to the Hon’ble Prime Minister – Shri Narendra Modi expressing disappointment and has sought his meeting. The apex Hospitality Association has conveyed dismay and disappointment on the gross neglect shown to the Hospitality sector in the Budget. The FHRAI has stated its disbelief on the 19 per cent retrenchment in the budget allocation for the Ministry of Tourism at a time when the sector is facing the worst crisis for tourism. In the absence of a sector-specific stimulus package, at least 30 to 40 per cent restaurants and 20 to 30 per cent hotels in the country are facing imminent shut down of business, resulting into millions of job losses.

“We are really disheartened to see that tourism and hospitality - the biggest casualty of the COVID19 pandemic have been continuously ignored by the Government ever since the pandemic hit the country. It did not even find a mention in the Budget presented by the Finance Minister. The FHRAI has been vociferously advocating for some real relief measures to help the sector come out of the biggest crisis. Despite our numerous representations over the last ten months and multiple meetings with the highest echelons in the Government, the Hospitality sector has been blatantly ignored. The Hon’ble Prime Minister has always been a strong proponent of India’s tourism potential. We are hoping that he will understand and offer a remedy for the industry’s concerns for which we have sought a meeting with him,” says Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, Vice President, FHRAI.

As per a recent report, the full year occupancy of the hotels in the country in the year 2020 was at 34.5 per cent and occupancy during the pandemic period was at 27.8 per cent. Several key markets reported pandemic period Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR in Rupees) in the 100s with Ahmedabad at the bottom with RevPAR at INR 672.

“Tourism and Hospitality account for close to 10 per cent of India’s GDP and support around 90 million jobs. It generated Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEE) to the tune of INR 194,881 crores (USD 29.96 billion) in 2019 and yet, the sector did not even find a mention in the Budget presented by the Hon’ble Finance Minister. Additionally, the Budget 2021 knocked off 19 per cent from the Budget allocated for the Ministry of Tourism which has come as a severe blow to the revival efforts of the tourism industry in India which is reeling from huge losses due to the coronavirus crisis,” says Surendra Kumar Jaiswal, Vice President, FHRAI.

The FHRAI has stated that while a majority of the sectors are on the recovery path the Hospitality sector continues to bleed and is glaring at an uncertain future. The industry continues to hope for sector specific reliefs from the Government.

“We plead the Hon’ble PM to take cognizance of the harrowing situation of the Hospitality sector and take urgent remedial measures to prevent it from succumbing. We wish to meet the PM in person and apprise him of the hardships faced by the Hospitality sector. We feel confident that after he hears us, he will intervene and offer our industry the much needed Government’s support,” concludes D V S Somaraju. Hon. Treasurer, FHRAI.

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