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Hospitality gears up for Commonwealth Games Monday, May 18, 2009, 12:00 Hrs [IST] By Sabyasachi Samajdar New

Delhi

The Commonwealth Games are scheduled to be held from October 3 to October 14, 20 10. The entire National Capital Region is expected to see an estimated 27 new ho tels, serviced apartments and mixed-use developments with approximately 4,900 ro oms adding up shortly. Also, the hospitality industry in Delhi and the NCR are s lated to undergo a major revamp as the city gears up to host business tourists f rom across the globe in the face of large-scale investments. "The government wants to develop Delhi not just as round-the-year destination bu t also as a heritage tourist hotspot and hopes that the Games will act as a cata lyst in augmenting Delhi's popularity as a tourist destination," said Sumati Meh ta, Principal Secretary (Tourism), Government of Delhi. The travel and the hospitality industry being the major players are hoping that the Commonwealth Games will act as a catalyst for the development of infrastruct ure and capacity building. The Commonwealth Games will see more than 8,000 participants and bring with it a huge volume of tourists into India. The host city is undergoing a huge overhaul in terms of revamping of hospitality facilities. The Commonwealth Games bring numerous opportunities for the tourism and the hosp itality industry in India. The tourism and other related ministries are getting a chance to develop public-private projects to showcase the major cities in the country. The tourism ministry is working closely with other ministries like the railways and civil aviation for setting up budget hotels accommodating 1,30,000 rooms and convention centers across the country to improve connectivity and accommodation by 2010. According to the minister of tourism & culture, Ambika Soni, the tourism sector has the maximum potential and the ministry is doing all it can to support the st akeholders. In order to provide newer and fresher products, the ministry has app ealed to the tour operators in India to make more innovative itineraries. The hospitality industry is working towards meeting the targeted number of rooms . Various private hotel chains are building hotels in the city and the Delhi Dev elopment Authority is doing its bit. Till now about 14,656 rooms apart from the already registered Bed & Breakfast ac commodation have been built. The Union Ministry of Tourism is also looking at pu tting in place a system for hotel booking under the public-private partnership m odel. It is going to meet the demand for an additional 30,000 rooms in time. Currently, there is a shortage of around 30,000 rooms in Delhi and the NCR for t he 2010 Commonwealth Games. To counter this, 27 new hotels and serviced apartmen ts are slated to come up in NCR by 2010, with nearly 20 hotels in Gurgaon alone, adding about 5,000 rooms. Several international hotel chains have entered into contracts in Gurgaon and No ida either through franchise or management model for their India operations. Yet , for the entire country, there is an immediate requirement of approximately 1,0 0,000 rooms and only 75 per cent of that demand will be met by the projects that

are currently underway.