Increasing foreign tourist inflow spells big biz for hotels

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New Delhi, Apr 18 (UNI) As India becomes an enticing holiday destination with increasing foreign tourist inflow, the focus of the global tourism industry is now shifting.

One of such initiatives is the South Asia Travel and Tourism Exchange (SATTE), which was inaugurated here today.

The 15th edition of SATTE was inaugurated here by Tourism Secretary Shilabhadra Banerjee.

About five million tourists visited the country last year, compared to 4.45 million in 2006 and 3.92 million in 2005 and the country has been achieving consistently a high growth rate of 12.4 per cent in foreign tourist arrivals in 2007.

To attract more foreign tourists in India, some important measures like integrated development of tourism infrastructure at tourist circuits and destinations, growth of hotel infrastructure, particularly, budget hotels and augmentation of air capacity is being done.

SATTE will see exhibitors from 13 countries and over 225 tour operators, and will continue till April 20, SATTE Chief Coordinator Navin Berry told reporters here.

The exhibition has participants from national and international arena with names like Hilton, Carlson, Accor, Marriott, TAj, The Oberoi, ITC etc, he added.

''If the growth projections are to be believed, we need about 10,000 rooms in each category of hotels,'' Federation of Hotels and Restaurant Association of India President Dinesh Khanna said.

With real estate players also coming in, the hotel business has become very exciting, he added.

As the government increases its focus on medical and religious tourism, it would provide impetus to small hoteliers as well, Mr Khanna said.

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