-CB Edit Desk
Despite the impact of the lockdown on the hospitality sector, Marriott International considers India as one of its top markets, according to Craig S. Smith, Group President, International, Marriott International, as reported by BusinessLine.
“We are continuing to invest in properties in India despite the pandemic. In the future, we will bring our other brands to India as well,” Smith said while responding to a question from BusinessLine at a virtual event organised by Les Clefs d’Or, a global professional association of hotel concierges.
Smith sees a lot of potential in the Indian market because of the young population. “Not only that, India has great talent, too. We are also exporting talent from India to other markets where we are present.”
Smith acknowledged that Indian operations are “hurting” due to the covid-19 pandemic and that the hospitality industry has “never seen a downturn like this.”
While the company is seeing recoveries in destinations like Dubai and China, and the occupancies have bounced back for Marriott very well post the covid-19 pandemic, however, “India is hurting badly.” he said
During its recent earnings call, the company had said that the Asia Pacific region is reviving but at a slow pace. The recoveries across Asia Pacific Excluding China, or APEC, and the Caribbean and Latin America, or CALA, have been more uneven. In APEC, strong demand in Australia and the Maldives has been offset by rising COVID cases in other countries like India and Japan
So far there have been over 2.96 crore cases of covid-19 in India. He explained that several other countries had a safety net which wasn’t the case with India. “India was bouncing back quickly, but got severely hit by the third wave of covid-19 and the government shutting out states overnight. It has been very difficult in India,” Smith said.
According to a report by hospitality industry tracker STR, over 270 branded hotels in India had temporarily closed due to the second wave of Covid-19 while at least eight hotels of branded chains have shut down permanently. Recently, Hyatt Regency in Mumbai was closed temporarily due to a financial crunch.
Marriott has a portfolio of more than 7,600 properties under 30 leading brands spanning 133 countries and territories. It has over 125 hotels in India under 16 of its brands.