The hospitality industry is showing signs of slow but steady recovery in Tiruchi region after months of unprecedented crisis and uncertainty.
While Tiruchi is being considered as a transit point for international travellers mainly from Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, Malaysia, Singapore and Sri Lanka, the city serves as a link for domestic pilgrims and business travellers. After landing in Tiruchi, European travellers visit Thanjavur, Karaikudi, Madurai and Puducherry. Tourists from Malaysia, Singapore and Sri Lanka, who visit Tamil Nadu, invariably land in Tiruchi and go to their favourite temple towns. But there were hardly any tourist arrivals from European countries and Malaysia and Singapore since March 2020 due to the continued suspension of international flights in view of spread of COVID-19 virus.
However, industry sources say that domestic travellers, pilgrims and business travellers, who had reservations over travelling in public transports and staying in hotels until September 2020 due to the COVID-19 fear, have begun to visit tourist destinations. Popular temple destinations such as Srirangam and Samayapuram receive a large number of pilgrims, although the number is still down by about 50% when compared to the pre lockdown period. It is said that pilgrims from Chennai, Coimbatore and others had been visiting Tiruchi in large numbers. There were pilgrims from Bengaluru, Hyderabad too. Similarly, business travellers too have started visiting the city. It has gradually increased the occupancy rate in hotels and lodges.
According to industry sources, there are about 120 hotels in the city. Nearly one-third of them are situated in the Central Bus Stand area. The average occupancy rate, which was hovering around just 10% in September and October has gone up to 30 % to 50 %. It goes up on public holidays and auspicious days.
S. A. Mubashir, joint secretary, Tiruchi Tourism Federation, said that there were signs of revival of the hospitality industry. The occupancy rate in hotels had been going up gradually. Similarly, restaurants and eateries, which were part of the hospitality industry, had got back their nearly 60% of the business. The demand for cabs too had gone up to an extent.
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