Peak holiday season brings relief to hotels in Kerala

Christmas is here and the New Year is just a week ahead, the hoteliers across Kerala is happy that there’s a slight surge in hotel bookings during this peak season. The hotel sector is expecting average occupancy of 70 per cent during this holiday season,

Hotels in destinations such as Kovalam, Varkala, Kochi and Munnar are predicting even higher occupancy rates in the holiday season, while for New Year’s they expect to be full. Although foreign visitor arrivals remain weak since the Nipah outbreak and the devastating floods, 7 of every 10 visitors to the God’s own country during the holidays are domestic tourists.

“We are having good occupancy here in Fog Munnar. We have been 100 per cent occupied since last one week and the occupancy rate is going to be the same till January 5. Munnar is overflowing with visitors and it is good to see the huge crowd coming back to the misty hills of Munnar. Almost all the hotels – both the premium and budget segments are having good occupancy rates here. However, we are concerned about the post January 5 period,” said Vimal Roy, General Manager, Fog Munnar.

B’canti Boutique Beach Resort, Varkala

Since the nipah outbreak and the flood , the tourism industry has been seeing some improvement in tourist inflow but not really enough to make up for the loss after the floods. “At present, we are seeing a lot of domestic tourists who have chosen Varkala as their holiday destination for the year end festivities. This season is incomparable with the same period in the previous years, considering the setbacks the state had faced in the recent times. Though the sector was seriously affected by Nipah, floods and wrong weather alerts, we are getting good response both from domestic and international travellers. There is a dip of 30 – 40 per cent from the last year. But, most of the hotels here have good occupancy. We hope that the bookings will increase further in the coming days,” said Ajith Prasad, General Manager – Sales at B’Canti Beach Resort in Varkala.

Despite a slight increase in the number of international tourist arrivals, domestic tourist numbers still dominate the occupancy in most of the hotels. Several hotels had prepared in advance with elaborate programmes, including enticing rates for holidaymakers as the season set in.

Cake mixing ceremony at Crowne Plaza, Kochi

“We have good number of queries for Christmas and and New Year bashes. New year query is majorly from people in and around the city and very less from domestic market, outside Kerala. Christmas is almost done and few people will walk-in at the last minute also. People are ready to party and enjoy with the most happenings ones in the city,” said Shuvendu Banerjee, General Manager, Crowne Plaza.

This holiday season is a boom to local players in the hospitality industry, which has suffered a beating for the better part of the year.

Raja Gopaal Iyer of Uday Samudra Resorts in Kovalam says the occupancy for Christmas is 50 per cent only. “But during New Year, we have around 90 per cent occupancy,” he said. “It has been truly a bad year for the tourism sector in Kerala. We had to cross many hurdles to achieve the basic sales goals. We have not hiked the prices like earlier, even during December and giving away the rooms in normal price. The days are gone where we were busy clearing guest to accommodate those who were in the waiting list. That golden era has faded away. However, let’s hope that the New Year brings good vibes to the industry and let’s together gain back the glorious days. We need to plan and implement better strategy for the coming days,” he added.