INDIAN HOTELS INDUSTRY
Consumer confidence low; revival contingent on global environment
QUARTERLY REVIEW March 2012 ICRA expects the Indian Hotels industry to finish 2011-12 on a weaker note with subdued pricing power eroding margins. Although some revival in operational metrics was witnessed during late 2010-11, the industry continued to lack the pricing power to drive out of its current stagnancy. Globally weak macroeconomic scenario, the European sovereign debt crisis, geo-political turmoil in the Arab countries, high interest rates, inflation and a muted domestic corporate performance during the current fiscal (year to March 31, 2012) have sapped the industry’s ability to sustain inflation adjusted Average Room Realizations (ARRs).
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Despite these upheavals, foreign tourist arrivals (FTA) to India grew by 8.8% to 62.9 lakh tourists while international tourist arrivals grew by 4.4% to 980 million travellers during CY2011 (Calendar year - Period ending December-11). The pace was however significantly slower than the 11.8% (FTA) and 7.0% (international travellers) of the previous year. Growth in arrivals to Africa and the Middle East was weak while arrivals to Europe, Asia, the Pacific and Americas led the international traveller growth during CY2011. With strengthening regional business ties, South and South-East of Asia witnessed strong intra-regional demand during the period. As is the case with industries that depend on discretionary spending, the performance of the hotels industry is intrinsically knit with the economic growth. However, we have in the past witnessed periods of decoupling between the hotels industry and GDP growth; particularly during periods of recession and the early phases of recovery. During the economic down cycle, the faster pace of deceleration in the hotels industry, as witnessed during 2009, can take the industry to deep troughs. While the climb during the initial phases of recovery is faster than the