Pune: ‘Slowdown affecting Marriott’s business in certain markets’

At the inauguration of Ritz Carlton in Pune on Wednesday

The ongoing slowdown has resulted in the hospitality industry in certain parts of the country facing business stagnation. Neeraj Govil, senior vice-president, South Asia, Marriott International Inc, singled out Goa as a market where such effects are visible.

Govil, while speaking to the media on the sidelines of the inauguration of Ritz Carlton in Pune on Wednesday, said he felt the country has started showing signs of slowdown but the recession was yet to start. However, certain markets like Goa have started showing palatable signs of business stagnation. “Pune’s markets till date has escaped any such sign... While the automobile sector is undergoing a slowdown, the IT and financial sector have so far escaped it,” he said.

The Marriott Group operates 120 properties in India and the average occupancy rate is around 70 per cent. Around 12 per cent of the revenues of the India operations come from wedding-related businesses, which have led the group to launch a special package for the occasion. Wedding and social businesses are key to the hotel business.

Pune became the second city in India to have a Ritz Carlton, the luxury brand of the group. To be managed out of a property developed jointly by the Pune-headquarted Panchshil Group and the Poonawala group’s Serum Institute of India in equal partnership, the total value of the project is pegged to be around Rs 400 crore, which has been raised by internal accrual.

The recent decision of the government to slash the GST on star properties from 28 to 18 per cent was welcomed by the industry. Govil said this will help in checking meetings, conventions and other events from being held outside the country. “In countries like Indonesia where GST is around 5-7 per cent, cost of holding such events come cheaper. The slashing of GST will help us get those businesses back,” he said.

Panchshil group to exit residential segment

Panchshil group has decided to exit the residential realty segment in view of the slowdown in the sector. Atul Chordia, chairman of the group, while speaking to the media in Pune on Wednesday, said post completion of the three ongoing projects in the next two years, the group will exit its residential business.

The Panchshil group has several ultra-luxury projects in the city, including the Trump Towers. The website of the company talks about 960 luxury homes being delivered by the company. Along with residential, the group has a significant presence in the hospitality business having brought the JW Marriot to the city.