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Tuesday, Jun 04, 2002

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Hotels see exodus of foreign guests

Nina Varghese

CHENNAI, June 3

HOTELIERS in the city are a worried lot as their hotels are fast losing foreign guests. After two months of above average occupancy levels, the city hotels have been hit with business travellers checking out suddenly due to tension on the border and also with cancellations and no-shows.

During the past three days, business travellers not just from the US and the UK but also from Japan, Korea and Singapore are cancelling or postponing their business trips to India, hotel industry sources said. If this trend continues, the hospitality sector will be in deep trouble.

The sector was just limping back to normalcy and had been affected by the rising tensions along the border, a hotel industry source said.

Business hotels, both in the five and three star categories, have been hit by sudden exodus.

Mr M.O. Koshy, Vice-President, GRT Grand Days, confirmed the sudden checkouts by Japanese and Korean businessmen.

He said there were a large number of people checking out just in one day.

High-level sources at a five star hotel said there had been a number of cancellations and no-shows.

The resort hotels have not been impacted much as this is the off-season. But if this situation were to continue there would be large-scale cancellations as there was last year. Sources at one of the seaside resorts, which has 99 per cent foreign clientele, said the bookings would start by July and hoped the situation would improve by then.

The resorts on the coast are all hoping for a better season this year after a disastrous season last year, sources said.

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