The Delhi Hotel and Restaurant Owners Association on Thursday announced that Chinese nationals would no longer be provided accommodation in over 3,000 hotels and guesthouses across the city. The decision was taken along the lines of the call to boycott Chinese products by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Tuesday, hotel association president Sandeep Khandelwal said.
“The Chinese are not the world, we can survive without them as well. We are law-abiding citizens and no one will take law in their hands, but this would make the Chinese worried… War and trade cannot happen at the same time,” he said.
While a majority of hotels have agreed with the decision, he said no one will be forced to follow it. He added that the association would also try to get five-star hotels on board.
The association’s move comes at a time when the hospitality industry is already reeling under heavy losses due to lack of tourism and closure of hotels in the wake of the coronavirus shutdown.
Sandeep Khandelwal admitted that several hotel owners are undergoing extreme stress as they are unable to pay pending bills, loans and rent, and the latest decision might not prove to be feasible in the long run: “All things depend upon government policy and the relation between countries.”
CAIT’s national secretary general Praveen Khandelwal said the trade body would welcome anyone who wishes to join its campaign to boycott Chinese products. He also said CAIT will now appeal to farmers, small-scale industries, hawkers, entrepreneurs and other sectors to join their campaign.
While the decision is limited to Delhi as of now, the hotels’ association would try to rope in their counterparts in other states as well, added Praveen Khandelwal.
Thursday’s decision, however, has not gone down well with some hotel owners in the city, who said the Central government should make its policy clear on the matter.
Hotels in the city have not been allowed to reopen since the lockdown was imposed. Kulwant Singh, owner of a hotel in Karol Bagh, said the association’s decision would have no impact unless tourism resumes. “The government should not give visa and flight tickets to Chinese nationals if we don’t want them to come here. They should make their policy clear. Already business is down and it doesn’t look like it will pick up this year,” he said.
Naresh Garg, owner of a hotel in Old Delhi’s Darya Ganj, said the government had failed to support the hospitality industry and they are having to pay electricity bills running into lakhs of rupees even when the hotels are shut. “We can’t say atithi devo bhava (guest is god) on one hand and then deny bookings,” he said.
Amardeep Singh, a hotel owner in Paharganj, said 60% to 65% of bookings in his hotel are made by international tourists, including Chinese nationals.
Vinod Baweja, who also owns two hotels in Paharganj, said, “We have not been given permission to open hotels right now. When they do, we can decide about the matter. But the government should make its stance clear on this.”
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