Thursday, January 1, 2009

Haryana contributes with 7,000 rooms for Commonwealth Games

rooms for Commonwealth GamesHaryana is contributing with nearly 7,000 rooms for India’s showpiece event, the Commonwealth Games 2010 in New Delhi, which is expected to see over 150,000 visitors but preparations for which are running sadly behind schedule.

The rooms being offered by Haryana will be in the National Capital Region (NCR).

"The government of India had demanded 10,000 rooms from Haryana Tourism in the NCR region for the Commonwealth Games. About 7,000 rooms are already ready and the remaining will be built and done up by 2009-end," Tourism and Sports Minister Kiran Chaudhary told IANS.

Haryana Tourism, the state government tourism agency once famous for the successful run of its highway resorts and eateries in the 1970s and 80s, is making sure that the rooms are in place for the October 2010 Games.

New Delhi is expected to receive over 150,000 visitors from India and abroad during the Games. Hotel industry experts put the requirement during the Games at over 30,000 rooms. Most of these will be in the budget hotel category. The host city at present has arrangements for just over 10,000 rooms.

Haryana surrounds Delhi from three sides with two major cities, Gurgaon and Faridabad, adjoining the national capital.

"The Indian government has sanctioned a sum of Rs.360 million to Haryana Tourism in the current financial year for upgradation of tourism infrastructure in the state. A total amount of Rs.870 million was sanctioned during the last four years - the highest recorded in the last 20 years," said Chaudhary.

Haryana even proposes to bring in legislation to adopt the government of India’s ’Bed and Breakfast’ (B&B) scheme on the Delhi pattern.

"With the formulation of a new tourism policy by the Haryana government, it would not be difficult for us to meet the demand for rooms and provide ample earning opportunities for people in the state," Chaudhary added.

The B&B scheme, evolved by the Delhi government last year, involves residents having properties and facilities in Delhi to lodge tourists coming from abroad and other states as paying guests within a regulated framework.

Residents of NCR areas in Haryana will be able to offer similar B&B facilities at affordable rates, tourism officials say.

Over half of the existing 800 hotel rooms in Haryana’s NCR areas are being upgraded, Chaudhary said.

"The new institute of hotel management (IHM) being set up in Rohtak will provide hotel industry professionals for the infrastructure being created for the games," Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said.

Global hotel investment service firm Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels (JLLH), in a recently released report, stated that New Delhi could get up to 50,000 foreign visitors for the Games.

Earlier in 2008, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had expressed his dissatisfaction at the pace of preparedness for the Games, especially in developing infrastructure and providing rooms for the event.

The organising committee of the Games, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), and tourism and sports ministry officials had assured him that things would be in place before the event.

The national capital will have five new stadiums and a Games village for the Commonwealth Games 2010 to be held in October.

The Games are expected to cost India a whopping Rs.40 billion with much of the cost to be footed by the central government.