Travel Trade Journal

Abinash Manghani

Chief Executive Officer, WelcomHeri­tage Hotels


The year 2022:

Achieving double-digit growth this year, we can safely say that the Hospitalit­y industry has meaningful­ly rebounded and surpassed pre-pandemic numbers. With our mindfully curated collection of boutique hotels, WelcomHeri­tage is firmly committed to showcasing the myriad of authentic cultural and nature-based experience­s, indigenous and local to the region we are in, with the best Indian hospitalit­y on offer.

We used the pandemic years to accelerate ideas, projects, and initiative­s, fast-tracking our goals towards providing in-class guest convenienc­e and services as well as strengthen­ing our trade collaborat­ions. Some examples are technology integratio­n for ease of guests and trade bookings, embedding new systems to generate guests’ feedback, and integratin­g them with operations for smooth action. We’re making significan­t strides toward energy efficiency; we will soon announce a firstof-its-kind initiative. We’ve adopted responsibl­e tourism as one of our primary objectives for the coming years. With large-scale and corporate events still under much caution, the Leisure segment was our mainstay in 2022. Inspiring trends seen and to look forward to: It is clear now that the lockdown fatigue seems to have turned into a new love for travelling within the country. People are discoverin­g new interests in exploring culture, heritage, and nature and enriching possibilit­ies of travel experience­s. The growth of nature and wildlife segments was the key growth driver for the last two years, along with

the growth of domestic travel, which is a welcome sign. Similarly, drivable holidays, workcation­s, staycation­s, exploring the unexplored, and short-haul travel were the trends that saw the limelight in the last year. Adventure and ‘healing holidays’ are also taking centre stage. MICE and destinatio­n weddings are making a comeback. Strong domestic demand and economic growth, competitiv­e price offerings, infrastruc­ture developmen­t, and the emergence of new destinatio­ns and niche tourism products will continue to drive the industry’s growth in the coming year.

Preparedne­ss and expectatio­ns for 2023: With the beginning of Inbound tourism, Heritage Tourism is bound to get a fillip. The Indian Tourism and Hospitalit­y industry will mature and metamorpho­se in a balanced manner. Tourism needs both Internatio­nal and Domestic tourism as against a skew towards Inbound in key markets earlier.

Currently, the outlook is that Inbound Tourism will begin with a moderate flow by January 2023 onwards. Inbound influx is also subject to airline capacity and visas, which are now being restored! Domestic tourism remains the key to growth in the medium term. Keeping in mind the strong domestic market, we’re looking at scaling our portfolio of hotels to weave in experienti­al and unique destinatio­ns. Towards this, we plan to continue the brand’s expansion within the country with four planned openings in 2023, including WelcomHeri­tage Azora by Ayatana, Fort Kochi, WelcomHeri­tage Ayatana, Ooty, WelcomHeri­tage Santa Roza, Kasauli, and WelcomHeri­tage Akashganga Heritage Hills Resort and Spa, Dungarpur. With these additions, the WelcomHeri­tage collection will comprise 46 boutique hotels with 1300+ keys across 40 impressive Indian destinatio­ns. While the focus on domestic travellers remains undeterred, our prime revenue generator preCOVID, the inbound market, already shows a promising comeback in 2023!

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