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An Upward Trend: Eco Hospitality on the Subcontinent

At Red Ribbon Asset Management our ongoing interest in EcoHotels means we’ve been keeping a close watch on the Indian Hospitality Sector, and we’re particularly interested in market analysis published by SATTE (The South Asia Travel and Tourism Exchange because this highly influential trade body has been successfully calling trends in Hospitality on the subcontinent for the past twenty-five years; and its annual convention got underway in Delhi on 15th February with some interesting and instructive presentations being made by leading figures in the Sector.

India’s Tourism Secretary, Vinod Zutshi delivered a keynote speech highlighting the encouraging statistic - for the last two years India has recorded growth rates in tourism running consistently ahead of the international average. Globally tourism has grown at a rate of less than 4% a year but India has seen more than double that; international tourist arrivals grew by more than 11% in 2016: . In his speech Zutshi also drew attention to the fact that India today offers the most liberalised e-Visa regime in the world; he encouraged industry participants to work closely with the Government in future to co-ordinate the introduction of other initiatives designed to encourage and facilitate tourist and business travel on the subcontinent.

The e-Visa regime has already been extended to more than 160 countries worldwide which, according to Mahesh Sharma (Union Tourism Minister) provides a clear signal of the Government’s commitment to tourism and hospitality as well as its continued willingness to put further infrastructure in place to support both sectors; e-Visa technology is only one such innovation; another being the pre-loaded SIM card now being provided to tourists arriving in India on the e-Visa Program.

This bodes well for a sustained tourist footfall, but quite how much of that footfall will be making its way up to Manali is a little more imponderable; but for those who do make the trip they will find an interesting example of eco-hospitality ( waiting for them in the little village of Sethan just outside Prini, where former Prime Minister Atal Vajoayee has a home: ice hotels have been built outside the village. The frozen structures have become a centre of attention in the area for both locals and tourists alike. They were opened for business at the end of January and are expected to last for one more month before melting back into the earth. More primitive certainly than an Eco hotel, but the Sethan ice hotels graphically demonstrate the simplicity and efficiency of the circular economy; delivering a service whilst at the same time minimising the impact of that service on the environment.

And of course, that’s  something in which Red Ribbon Asset Management has had a longstanding interest: our investment in EcoHotels on the subcontinent is a key part of Red Ribbon’s commitment to mainstream impact investment in a growth market., it’s a project that looks to reduce the overall impact on the environment whilst at the same time maximising returns for our investors.

Red Ribbon CEO, Suchit Punnose said:

I think we have all long suspected that the key booking decision was more often a matter of impulse than long term planning; but this latest Survey result bears that out in the most striking way imaginable. As the article says, all the evidence points now to an increasingly impulsive and transient customer footfall, but to my mind this only highlights still further the need to deal in the most concerted manner with what the survey calls “non-negotiable expectations”; in particular the eco-credentials of the hotel and the customer environment because we can plan for those. That is why I am very confident that the hotels and hospitality facilities that we are involved in here at Red Ribbon will not only continue to capture footfall but return bookings as well!

Suchit Punnose

Suchit Punnose / About Author

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