Rains deal a body blow to Chennai's hotel, hospitality industry

They did have a good number of orders as well, but the rains threw a spanner into their plans.
People wade through a waterlogged road following heavy rains at Vyasarpadi in Chennai. (Photo| Debadatta Mallick, EPS)
People wade through a waterlogged road following heavy rains at Vyasarpadi in Chennai. (Photo| Debadatta Mallick, EPS)

CHENNAI: Incessant rains have delivered a body blow to the city’s hotel and hospitality industry, which was picking up the pieces during this festive season after sustaining severe losses during the pandemic.
The industry had pinned its hopes on the extended Deepavali holidays.

They did have a good number of orders as well, but the rains threw a spanner into their plans. Situation is no better for the travel agencies as well. Many suffered over 60 per cent cancellation of bookings, according to sources.

“I had over 40 bookings on Sunday for temple visits to places like Tiruchy and Thanjavur. Almost 70 per cent of the bookings were cancelled owing to the rains,” said Rama, manager of Prompt Tours and Travels, a car rental agency in Chennai.

The hotel industry said it was caught off guard by the heavy rains as they had not received any proper warning regarding the same. “Demand for sweets was really high this Deepavali. Keeping that in mind, I made additional quantities of sweets, believing they would be purchased by those visiting relatives during the weekend, but my stock was wasted after the rains crippled the city,” said Sunil Agarwal from Velachery. 

Similar was situation with restaurant owners, who expected good footfalls during the weekend. “Had we received any warning about the rains, we would have cooked less food,” said M Sridharan, manager of a Guindy restaurant. 

“Almost 50 per cent of bookings in hotels have been cancelled in the last two days. A few hotels are also facing logistics and waterlogging issues and not even able to cater to takeaway business, too,” said M Venkadasubbu, president of Tamil Nadu Hotels Association. 

Moreover, with the rains showing no signs of letting up and the chief minister requesting people to postpone their travel plans to the city, there is no immediate relief for hotels in Chennai, said M Ravi,  president of Chennai hotel association.

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