Thursday, November 5, 2009

Capital to face shortage of rooms for 2010 Games

Even as the organizing committee (OC) of the Commonwealth Games 2010 launched its Games travel office earlier in October, sources in the travel industry say Delhi’s preparations for the deluge of foreign tourists are shaky at best. A recent survey by an industry consultant says that of the 100 projects that were announced in 2007 for the Games, only 60 have actually been launched. What is more alarming is that of these 60 projects, only 53% will be built in the next five years. And for the Games, only 5,700 rooms are expected to be ready.

The survey, conducted by the HVS Hospitality Services, an international consultancy, says that against the proposed supply of 16,560 rooms that were to come up in the Delhi NCR area for the Games, only 53% are in actual state of development. These include projects in Delhi as well as Noida and Gurgaon. Added Manav Thadani of the HVS, ‘‘It is expected that there will be a shortfall of rooms as the numbers don’t total up to much, especially in the mid-budget to budget categories.’’

Thandani is not the only one who is worried about the lack of accommodation. Rajinder Kumar, president of the Federation of Hotels and Restaurants Association of India (FHRAI), says the industry is expecting at least a shortfall of 15,000 rooms. ‘‘The total number of rooms is not going to be more than 25,000, including guesthouses in areas like Paharganj and Karol Bagh. The minimum rooms required will be 40,000 during the Games,’’ adds Kumar.

Sources in the hotel industry say with less than a year left for the Games, it’s unlikely that rooms will suddenly become available now. Says Ajay Bakaya, ED of Sarovar hotels,

‘‘The government will have to think of alternative forms of accommodation. It is a fact that we are short of rooms at present. During the Games, its going to be much worse.’’ Bakaya, whose group is coming up with several hotels in the city for the Games, admits that development of most hotels is going slow, resulting in many missing the Games deadline. ‘‘Its not just hotels, the entire hospitality industry will be under tremendous pressure as the demand will far outstrip the supply in every way, from rooms to taxis for tourists,’’ adds Bakaya.

The ministry of tourism has also proposed to set up tented accommodation in spots across the city for the backpack tourists, besides the 5,500 DDA flats that will be made available. However, Thadani claims these measures may not suffice. Meanwhile, OC officials say that the committee is responsible for only 4,500 rooms for the various CGA officials coming in. For regular tourists, its going to be a case of the early bird catching the worm, admit sources.


Existing Rooms: 8,625
Proposed: 16,560 (18.2% luxury, 30.3% first class, 33.7% mid-budget, 16.3% budget, 1.5% extended stay)
Rooms new (actual): 5,700
Guesthouses in Paharganj and Karol Bagh: 8,000-10,000
DDA to provide 5,500 flats
Tourism ministry to arrange tented accommodation for backpackers