Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty (GHB) is betting big on MICE and leisure business, thanks to the resurgence of the State’s tourism sector from floods and Nipah virus outbreak last year.
“Kerala’s negative perception post floods have started fading, witnessing an encouraging trend in tourist arrivals. This has reflected in our room occupancy growth during Jan-Feb-March period, touching 65 per cent as coupled with a rise in the convention business”, says Mausham Bhattacharjee, Director (Sales & Marketing), GHB.
To cash in on the emerging scenario, the company is looking at increasing the footfalls. The introduction of more domestic flights, direct air connectivity to Tel Aviv from Kochi, rise in the periodicity of tourist travel would help achieve the objective. “We are keen to organize events that would showcase the State as a destination both for leisure and MICE”, he told BusinessLine in an interaction.
GHB, which is completing one year of its operation, had a good start despite all the challenges last year. It has facilitated 250 MICE events since its inception in April 2018. Of this, 50 per cent are corporate incentive groups where more revenue generated. The association events constitutes 20 per cent, 15 per cent business conclaves with exhibitions and more than 200 weddings and social events.
“We are consciously trying to bring more congress and conventions since they do not just generate good revenues but also benefit the city overall”, he said adding that the largest ever event happened at GHB in terms of numbers is the physicians conference where nearly 10,000 delegates attended.
To a question on the competition from Sri Lankan destinations, Bhattacharjee said “Colombo is a competitor but we have a USP of houseboats and backwaters. It is a misnomer that taxation in India is high. Colombo rates are also on the higher side at 30 per cent, whereas ours was only 18 per cent. But cheaper room rates is an attraction for Colombo.”
GHB is acting as an aggregator for other five-star hotels in the region thereby contributing to a healthy growth of the hospitality industry in the area. This has been made possible by organising large conferences and meetings at the adjacent Lulu Bolgatty International Convention Centre, Anish Kuttan, Director (Operations) said.
GHB is also hosting the 12th edition of Convention India Conclave in August organized by India Convention Promotion Bureaus sponsored by the Tourism Ministry. There will be participation from professional conference organizers, conventional sellers from overseas. The B2B meet would showcase the availability of conventional venues in Kochi and help promote Kerala as a conference destination, he said.