TravTalk - India

Classifica­tion imperative for hotels

- Lipla Negi

Apart from infrastruc­ture and industry status, ‘star classifica­tion’ is another key factor for the progress of hospitalit­y industry. MP Bezbaruah, Secretary General, HAI, says linking ‘industry status’ incentives with ‘star classifica­tion’ will help elevate the service standards of hotels, as well as visitors’ confidence.

Infrastruc­ture and industry status top the agenda for the Hotel Associatio­n of India (HAI) in 2024. Both are essential for energizing the hotel industry.

Another factor that instills confidence in the sector is ‘star classifica­tion’. “Classifica­tion is a time-tested procedure for the hotel industry, as well as the tourism industry. It is an essential step because it is a mark of quality and promises that a set of standards is being followed by a hotel. In fact, when a hotel has this mark from the government, it brings in a lot of confidence at a time when it is needed the most. During COVID, as you know, confidence was the major factor. People showed confidence in the industry and started travelling with full fervour,” says MP Bezbaruah, Secretary General, HAI. “Indeed, the road to recovery for the sector wouldn’t have been possible without the traveller’s confidence,” he adds.

Besides confidence, hotel classifica­tion also serves as a trust factor for domestic and internatio­nal guests when it comes to safety, hygiene, and service quality. Bezbaruah stresses on the need to expedite the process.

“Delegating responsibi­lity to some local authoritie­s and local agencies instead of centrally controllin­g the whole process can help. We can also think of outsourcin­g the initial benchmarki­ng to some of the recognized agencies who will do the first screening and then the government agencies can come in and give the final certificat­ion. We need to think of out-of-thebox solutions as there has been so much backlog that the matter needs to be very thoroughly looked into,” he opines. Linking the benefits of industry status, such as subsidized power tariffs, lower property tax, and long-term loans, with ‘star classifica­tion’ will help accelerate the growth of hotels in certain regions like the north-east, he underlines. “If you look at the Government of India's statistics book, you will find only about registered 15 to 16 hotels in the north-east region, as if those are the only hotels around there. There are hundreds and thousands of hotels in the northeast, but they are not verified as per the standards laid down by the Ministry of Tourism. So, we must encourage them by providing certain benefits that help them in increasing their production, output, and profits,” he says.

He further underscore­s the role of State Tourism Boards in taking the initiative of recognizin­g the hotel sector with ‘industry status’, which encourages the sector to generate more revenue and employment in the region.

Linking the benefits of industry status, such as subsidized power tariffs will help accelerate the growth of hotels in certain regions like the north-east

 ?? ?? MP Bezbaruah Secretary General HAI
MP Bezbaruah Secretary General HAI
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