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Goa Hotels cut rates

NEW DELHI: In this season of fear and economic gloom, here's something to quietly cheer about your stay at an upscale resort in Goa or Kerala is 
going to cost much less this winter. 

With terror attacks hitting the tourism season in India, the hospitality industry is offering hefty discounts of up to 25% and throwing in attractive sops to boost demand. 

Hotel tariffs in Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Jaipur and Kerala are likely to nosedive. Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Association of India (FHRAI) vice-president Rajindera Kumar said that hotels across the board are likely to see a 20% cut in room rates. 

"Most hotels had increased their fares in October for the peak season. We will be reverting to last year's room rents," he said. 

In Delhi, 5-star tariffs are being quoted at Rs 8,000 to Rs 18,000, down from the Rs 12,000-24,000 range this time last year. Discounts at mid-range hotels could be heftier, industry sources said. 

Delhi-based The Claridges Hotels and Resorts group has decided to introduce a ''Global Meltdown Tariff'' to sustain business. The hotel has revised current rates downward by 25%. 

"Keeping in mind the interest of our clients in these tough times, we have decided to offer this special tariff," Peter Leitgeb, Claridges president and CEO, said. 

Manav Thadani of consultancy firm HVS International adds that high-end leisure destinations will suffer a decline of 15%-20%. ''Places like Goa, Jaipur and Kerala will suffer unless they increase their exposure to the domestic market,'' Thadani said. 

Tour operators have pointed out in dismay at the deluge of cancellations from Mumbai. "Mumbai is a major point of entry and there have been a very high number of cancellations since the attacks. It has hit us right in the middle of the peak season," a tour operator said. Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) president Vijay Thakur had a similar view. "Cancellations range from 15%-20% post the attack. The issue of security along with the economic crisis has had a huge impact," Thakur said. 

The travel industry is throwing in the sops, including a free meal with a three day-two night package or allowing children free stay. 

The industry is also working on a campaign that would build confidence. "We will be addressing security concerns at roadshows in China, US and Australia. We want to ensure that word gets out that India is safe to travel...anything to distract the tourist from the current situation," Thakur added.

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