Indian hospitality firms are gearing up to feel the pinch after the rise in rapidly spreadly Omicron variant of Covid-19 in the country.
The Hotel Association of India in its outlook for the coming year has stated that the low sentiment among business travellers on account of the Omicron scare is expected to take a toll on bookings during January-March.
"The sentiment among business travellers is currently low owing to the Omicron scare and that is expected to take a toll on bookings during the Jan-March 2022 quarter," said M. P. Bezbaruah, secretary general of the Hotel Association of India.
Bezbaruah also observed that 2021 has been a year of hope, survival, and subtle recovery for the hotel industry in India.
He noted that the easing up of local restrictions while ensuring an aggressive vaccination drive, coupled with the implementation of strict protocols to ensure safety and hygiene by hotels provided a major relief and boost to confidence amongst the travelling community.
"The rate per room has also largely returned to pre-COVID levels as far as leisure locations are concerned.
"Hotels across categories in metros continue to maintain average rates and are more likely to return to usual prices by the end of this fiscal," Mr. Bezbaruah said.
India's Omicron cases rose to 961 across the country, an increase of 180 infections reported a day before, according to the Union ministry of health and family welfare on Thursday.
The health ministry also said as many as 13,154 new cases of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) were reported in the past 24 hours, taking the country's tally to over 34.8 million. Also, 268 people succumbed to the coronavirus disease in the same period and the country's death toll climbed to 480,860, the health ministry's data also showed.