Perhaps the most difficult year for humanity in the past several decades, 2020 proved to be a ‘catastrophic’ for the global hospitality industry.
With the arrival of 2021 and the series of approvals of the vaccines for the coronavirus worldwide, the hospitality industry is expected to witness a bounce-back.
Let’s hear from Suresh Nanda an entrepreneur, hotelier, and the chairman of the Claridges Group of Hotels.
How will you conclude in 2020 for the hospitality industry in India?
After World War II, it is for the first time that the world has witnessed a complete disruption in almost every walk of life. For hospitality, 2020 was a catastrophic year.
Suddenly, the whole world stopped, and that had a direct and adverse impact on our industry leaving millions unemployed for several months.
However, I will call it an opportunity. Every major disruption brings a crucial change in lifestyles so has the pandemic forced us to adapt to new changes.
The use of technology has penetrated to unprecedented levels. Tour and Travel in India was one of the most backward industries when it comes to the implementation of technology.
Now, it has forced almost everyone, irrespective of size, to implement such technological advancements.
Will there be a ‘new’ hospitality industry with the dawn of 2021?
2020 has already prepared the platform to bring revolution to various businesses. The hospitality industry is definitely the one that witnesses major changes.
For instance, we were one of the first industries that implemented comprehensive safety and hygiene procedures.
Similarly, travellers prefer to stay longer as they are looking for a few trips in a year, so they want to grab more in a single trip.
Likewise, touchless technology is gaining prominence. Now you have QR codes for menus, touch-less check-ins, and check-outs, reducing the touch-points considerably.
These are the trends that are forcing the industry to a ‘new’ era — a revolutionized hospitality industry.
From the perspective of governance, what are your expectations with the government this year?
Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. 2021 will help the Indian economy to bounce back but the government will have to play a crucial role over here.
For hospitality, our first demand from the Centre is to award an ‘industry status’ to the hospitality sector.
Further, I support all the pre-budget recommendations put forth by the Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH).
To be more specific, the utmost priority is the setting up of the National Tourism Council under the leadership of the PM.
Moreover, as we all know that it is not an ordinary situation, there are lots of expectations after the budget. In short, to establish a new era in the hospitality industry, 2021 is the perfect opportunity to do so.