Hotel Association of India (HAI)
Established in the year 1996, the Hotel Association of India (HAI) is the apex organisation of the hospitality industry in India. It represents the entire cross section of hotel industry ranging from small, medium and large hotels to exclusive stand-alone hotels and the major hotel groups.Its Executive Committee is a combination of the commitment and experience of the hotelowners and the professionalism of hotelmanagers. It has in its fold doyens of Indian Hotel Industry as well as young and emerging hoteliers determined to shape a bettertomorrow for the tourism industry.
HAI has an impressive membership of over 260 hotels. The membership includes 1 Star to 5 Star Deluxe category Hotels, Heritage hotels as
well as Public Sector and Government owned.
“To secure for the hotel industry its due place in India’s economy; project its role as a contributor to employment generation, and sustainable economic and social development; highlight its crucial role in the service to tourism industry as the largest net foreign exchange earner; help raise the standards of hoteliering and to build an image for this industry both within and outside the country.”
HAI is committed to the attainment of the following objectives:
- To create through a communication programme an awareness of the particular significance of the hotel industry in contributing to general economic development and employment.
- To secure for the industry its true status as a core infrastructure industry.
- To serve the members by establishing a Data Bank to provide timely information, data, advisory and research services.
- To formulate strategies, in the areas of land, finance, taxation, training procedures and legislation to accelerate growth.
- To interface with Central and State Governments and other authorities on issues concerning the hotel industry.
- To synergise with all segments of the hotel industry and apex bodies of the tourism sector in India and overseas and work for the creation of a common platform.
Hotel Association of India, established on 24th October 1996, within a short span of less than a decade of its inception, has successfully provided an integrated hospitality platform produced ground breaking results and recorded several notable ‘firsts’ for the hospitality industry described in the ensuing pages :-
Export House Status for Tourism and Hospitality Industry:
Among the path breaking industry ‘first’ initiatives of Hotel Association of India is the unique recognition secured for tourism and hospitality sectors in India as ‘export industries’. This was an unparelled achievement of the Association which undertook the entire groundwork and created consensus in support of according export status for hospitality industries. HAI organized series of inter-active meetings with the concerned Ministries of the Government of India, culminating in a high level Conclave presided over by Shri Ramakrishna Hegde, then Hon'ble Minister of Commerce, Government of India, on 16th July 1998 at the Oberoi Hotel, New Delhi which cleared the decks for the action plan blue-printed by HAl receiving the official seal of approval of the Government of India manifested in the a Gazette Notification of November 26th, 1998 declaring Hotels and Tourism Units eligible for the benefits of Service Export House/International Service Export House/International Star Service Export House/International Super Star Service Export House categories on the basis of their quantum of foreign exchange earnings. This extraordinary recognition placed hotels and tourism units on par with industries engaged in export of products for imports of projects and products against their foreign exchange entitlements and facilitated hotels in acquiring competitive edge vis-à-vis hotels overseas in providing world class facilities.
Tourism Export Promotion Council:
Another notable first for hospitality and tourism industries, synchronizing with the grant of Export House Status, was notched by the Hotel Association of India by formulating the Constitution of the Tourism Export Promotion Council (TEPC) on 20th November 1998. The approval of the Company Law Board was also secured for the new body under Section 25 of the Companies Act 1956. TEPC represented an unique experiment in bringing together for the first time all constituents of the tourism sector - hotels, travel agents, tour operators, transporters, airlines, tourism finance companies - under a single umbrella on a common platform.
SAARC Hotel Association Established:
HAI reached beyond the national boundries to provide regional co-operation aiming hotels in South Asia and became the prime mover in the formation of the SAARC Hotel Association. This was achieved by developing close synergy between the hospitality industry organizations of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The SAARC Hotel Association was formally launched at Mumbai on 7th April 1999 with Nepal being assigned the responsibility of hosting the SAARC body for its initial two years and later by rotation by other member countries.
International Code of Conduct to Govern Relations Between Hoteliers, Travel Agents and Tour Operators:
For the first time in the history of travel trade in India on 28.4.2000, HAI successfully evolved consensus among the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) and the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) and the Hotel Association of India (HAl) resulting in the signing of the International Code of Practice governing the relations between Hoteliers, Travel Agents and Tour Operators. The code represents a watershed for the tourism and travel industry in India, as protracted negotiations for adopting a code of practice for over three decades had not yielded any results till HAl took the lead and crafted consensus in favour of adopting the global practice. It’s signing by the three national bodies signaled to the international travel fraternity and business travellers that India had opted for internationally approved policies of hotel bookings, cancellations, refunds, claims etc.
Legal First For Hotel Industry:
The Hotel Association of India took the lead in invoking the intervention of the High Court of Delhi in protecting the interests of hospitality industry in India on a matter of vital importance to the hotels as well as to the foreign and domestic tourist staying in hotels. Hotel Association of India filed a writ in the High Court Delhi against an arbitrary and ad’hoc administrative directive requiring the hotels in approved categories, classified by the Ministry of Tourism, to follow a Single Tariff system. The directive would have proved detrimental and counter productive to national tourism interests. The industry perspective presented by HAI was accepted by the High Court of Delhi which granted a Stay in favour of hotel industry, signifying an unique legal validation of hospitality industry system of operation across the country.
Seeking Repeal of Anti - Women Legislation:
The Punjab Excise Act enacted during the British rule in India in 1914 contains an archaic and anti-women provision prohibiting the employment of women in licenced premises, i.e., bars and restaurants in hotels. The Hotel Association of India challenged the validity of this ancient legislation before the Hon’ble High Court to protect the interest of women. The HAI’s Writ against the constitutional validity of the provisions of the Punjab Excise Act, 1914
Media Centric Initiatives:
The large number of foreign correspondents stationed in India, representing powerful and popular foreign publications, newspapers, journals, T. V. Channels, Broadcasters play a major role in making or marring the image of India as a peaceful tourists destination country through their news reports and dispatches. HAI took the lead in organizing the first ever hospitality industry meeting with the foreign correspondent stationed in New Delhi. The event was organized with the objective to discuss adverse the impact of Travel Advisories issued by foreign Governments on the State of Indian hospitality and tourism industry and correct their perspective to restore consumer confidence in travel, tourism and hospitality sectors adversely affected by global events of preceding years. Because of the unique nature of the special event and its potential for future tourists arrivals in India, the Ministry of Tourism fully associated with HAI.
Survey on the Impact Advisories in Hospitality Industry:
Foreign Embassies and Missions are often instrumental in advising their respective countries to issue “Travel Advisories” to caution their citizens from undertaking visits to specific countries owing to adverse conditions of safety and security. Travel Advisories against visiting India were issued by several countries following global events like the terrorist attacks on 9/11 in USA and 13/12 in New Delhi, War in Afghanistan and tension on Indo-Pak borders etc. The adverse travel advisories affected tourists arrivals to India over a prolonged period.
The Hotel Association of India stepped in by organizing an innovative Survey among foreign tourists staying in hotels to obtain their reactions to such advisories issued by the foreign governments. The HAI Survey brought out that a preponderant majority of tourists declared India as a safe and peaceful destination and foreign travallers viewed the travel advisories and warnings as “coloured by political considerations” and based on “inadequate knowledge of ground realities”. Some of them opined that they found New Delhi “safer than Manhattan”. HAI Survey facilitated the Governments of the respective countries in reviewing and withdrawing the adverse travel advisories and re-assured tourists of their safety and security in India.
Setting up of Confederation of Indian Travel and Tourism Industry:
Another first initiative mooted by the Association related to the need for creating a Confederation of Indian Travel and Tourism Industry (CITTI) as an umbrella organization to represent all components of the Travel & Travel industry in India. Unlike other industries, there has never been an umbrella organization in the tourism industry. To fill this gap, HAI proposed the setting up of CITTI which would address the policy issues and concerns of the industry. The Constitution of the proposed new body has been drawn up and made available to all sectoral associations to facilitate its establishment in the future.
Study of Traiff System in Hotels:
The first ever ‘While Paper’ on Tariff Systems in Hotels in India, produced by a Central Government Autonomous Organisation the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP), was undertaken at the behest of the Hotel Association of India. The NIPFP headed by eminent economists of the standing of Dr. Raja J Chelliah, former Chief Economic Advisor of the Government of India and Dr. C. Rangarajan, former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, provided the Indian hospitality industry with its most appropriate perspective and authentic study of tariff systems.
First Afro- Asian Infotech Hotels Expo:
HAI - led initiative resulted in Afro-Asian Region's first Conference-cum-Exposition on Information Technology being institutionalized as 'an annual event in New Delhi for countries in the South Asian Region. The first Conference-cum-Expo organized by HAl on April 10 - 11, 2000 at the ITC Maurya Sheraton Hotel, New Delhi received support from the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, and the SAARC Tourism Council. The Ministries of Tourism and Information Technology, Government of India, extended official support to HAl as Co-sponsors of the event.
Second Afro - Asian Infotech Hotels Expo:
The Second Conference-cum-Exposition on Information Technology in Hotels was organized on March 15-16, 2001 at the Taj Palace Hotel, New Delhi. This Afro-Asian conference was supported by United Nation Economic and Social Commission for Asia and like the front conference the Pacific (UN-ESCAP); Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Information Technology, Government of India, SAARC Tourism Council and SAARC Hotel Association, Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IH&RA).
Creating A National Network of Hai Chapters:
The Hotel Association of India, established in April 1997, enlisted co-operation on a voluntary basis of professional hoteliers in twenty five State and fifty three cities to monitor hospitality related developments to enable the Association to address the concerns of the hospitality industry at the grass-roots level.
Going Global with Knowledge Exchange Partners:
Knowledge Exchange partnerships were formed with international organization such as the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC); the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA); World Tourism Organisation (WTO); the International Hotel and Restaurant Association (IH&RA); the United Nation Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP); the South Asia Association of Regional Countries (SAARC), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Union’s South Asia Integrated Tourism Human Resource Development Programme (EU-SAITHRDP)
Inter - Sectoral Linkages with Apex National Fora:
At the National level working partnerships were established with apex industry for a like the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI); Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM); Confederation of Indian Industry (CII); to provide hospitality industry perspective in the formation of national industrial policies and development.
Affiliation With World Health Organization (WHO):
HAl's pioneered the concept of ‘Healthy Hotels’ in line with WHO’s ‘Healthy Cities’ campaign by initiating programmes for the hospitality industry on ‘Hygiene Management in Hotels’ at Agra in 1997. The WHO representative in India delivered the keynote address at the First Hygiene Management Seminar.
Innovative - "India Quiz Contest" At ITB Berlin 2002:
A new promotional first was scored by the HAI at ITB Berlin, held from 16th to 20th March 2002. This was the first time 25 leading Indian hotels were brought together by HAI on the industry net to sponsor prizes of FAM Holiday Tours to Travel Trade visitors at the ITB.The India Quiz Contest brochure of HAI provided a high visibility to the Indian hospitality industry products among visitor to the ITB, Berlin. The participating hotels received excellent marketing exposure of their properties in the Quiz brochure. This also offered unique opportunities for prospective agents and operator for the familiarization and experience of the hotels.
Guidelines for Provision of Disabled Friendly Facilities in Hotels:
The Association undertook a pioneering role in formulating a comprehensive set of Guidelines for provision of Disabled Friendly facilities in Hotels, especially in parking and Approach Areas, Lobbies, Public Areas, Lifts, Rooms, Bathrooms and to install special Fire Prevention measures for the disabled.
Promoting Public - Private Partnership:
The Association in a step towards promoting the public-private partnership called upon its members to extend their full corporation to the Archeological Survey of India in the maintenance of the National monuments, which has translated into following public-private sector partnership:-
62 Special Promotional Packages in Hotels:
- Illumination of Humayun’s Tomb at Delhi by the Oberoi Group of Hotels.
- Development of facilities for visitors at the Agra Fort by the ITC Hotels Ltd.
- Main entrance of the Jantar Mantar observatory at New Delhi by the Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels Pvt. Ltd.
- Illumination of the Safdarjung Tomb, New Delhi by the Grand Group of
A major initiative undertaken by HAI galvanized the entire Indian hospitality industry to come together under the Association’s banner to offer for the first time in the history of the industry as many as 62 special promotional packages in hotels for marketing averages in association with Air India.
Memorandum of Undertaking Signed with the Hotel Association of Nepal and the Uganda Investment Authority:
The Hotel Association of India signed two Memorandum of Understanding which aimed at fostering and promoting tourism in their respective countries by inter alia agreeing to exchange information in respect to development and trend in the fields of tourism, hospitality and hotel sectors and encourage interaction between their respective hotels and Hospitality Association of India for Tourism Promotion and exploring investment opportunities in these sectors.
India quiz Contest Brochure at 51st Pata Annual Conference:
Encouraged by the overwhelming response received from the ITB Berlin, HAI launched its exclusive India Quiz Contest at the 51st PATA Annual Conference held in New Delhi from 14.04.2002 to 18.04.2002 offering opportunities of FAM Holiday in 14 leading Hotels.
Study Project in Management of Cross - Cultural Tourists Movements in Hospitality Sector:
HAI initiated a study project on Management of cross-cultural tourism movements in hospitality sector to assess and promote awareness among staff in smaller hotel and upgrade their knowledge and skills for handling of foreign tourists.
Grant of Fiscal Benefits to the Hospitality Industry:
For the first time the tourism industry’s aspirations elaborated in the Hotel Association of India’s various memoranda to the Central Government were translated into “tourism-friendly”, measures in the Union Budget of 2003-04. These measures were aimed at making India more affordable destination, fuelling growth of hospitality infrastructure, facilitating business re-organisation, re-structuring hospitality industry and motivating State Governments to rationalize tourism tax regime. The major incentives extended to hospitality industries included and exemption of Service tax in hotels relating to Conference and Banquet business, which have been excluded from the service tax net.
Hotel Association of India orchestrated the strategy leading to announcement in the Union Budget 2003 of benefits under Section 10(23) (g) on loans to hotels (3 star and above categories) for increasing the availability of funds for the hotel industry.This provision has allowed lending institutions to make available funds to hotel projects at reduced rates of interest. The financial institutions will get a tax break on the interest income they earn on loans extended to such borrowers.Inclusion of finance to the hotel projects of three star category and above for the first time under Section 10 (23)(g) of the Income Tax Act “signals” the positioning of hotels on the threshold of securing full infrastructure status as granted to other industries. HAI is now carrying this agenda forward to securing the wider benefits of infrastructure under Section 84 I/A of Income Tax Act.
Restructuring Hospitality Business Amalgamation and Merger:
It is at the behest of HAI that the Finance Ministry constituted a Working group under Chief Commissioner of Income Tax Mumbai which recommended the grant of benefits under Section 72 A of the Income Tax Act (which relates to the set-off of accumulated losses and depreciation on amalgamation), for the hotel industry to help loss-making hotel companies in re-organising their business.The facility of mergers and acquisitions was hitherto available only to industrial undertakings and manufacturing units. With its extension to hotel companies, it has facilitated moves towards consolidation with the hospitality industry and releasing of resources blocked in non-performing assets.This measure has now enabled smaller hotel units to enter into franchisee arrangements with established hotel groups/chains which in turn has led to improvements in occupancy levels and service standards.
Zero Duty Facility Importrs by Hotels:
HAI pursued with the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India for grant of the zero duty import facility to hotels and standalone restaurants. The Industry has now been granted under the “Served from India Scheme”, the zero duty facility to all hotels including one star, two star hotels for import of food items and alcoholic beverages sell which would make India an affordable destination.
HAI Directory of Hotels Going Global:
The exclusive HAI Directory of Hotels is an annual publication promoted with a singular aim of fulfilling the promotional need for tourists and visitor coming to India for an authentic compendium of leading Indian hotels recognized by the Ministry of Tourism. For the first time in 2005 the Directory was utilized by the Ministry of Tourism for distribution among foreign travel agents and tour operators in 12 countries through the Government of India’s Tourist Offices abroad.
World Tourism Day Celebration:
A new promotional first was scored by HAI for creating awareness about the World Tourism Day on 27th Sept. 2005 amongst not only the member-hotels but also the school children. To encourage and facilitate the member-hotels in celebrating the World Tourism Day on 27th September 2005, HAI outlined a bouquet of activities to be organized by the member-hotels. The member-hotels came forward in large numbers and organized the activities with enthusiasm and excitement. In New Delhi, HAI collaborated with the Sanskriti School to launch a Quiz Contest on Tourism for school children on the World Tourism Day.
Variety of professional member-services are provided by HAI to its members these include :-
HAI Green Weeks:
- INFORMATION BULLETINS sent out regularly with updates on latest developments concerning hotel industries, policy changes and pronouncements by Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Commerce, CBEC, CBDT, State Governments and affiliate international organizations such as WTTC, IH&RA, WTO etc.;
- HAI TODAY The first hospitality industry magazine of its kind in India;
- HAI DIRECTORY OF HOTELS An exclusive high quality reference manual of recognized hotels in India;
- HAI PRIVILEGE CARDS which are offered to members in the Gold and Silver Categories entitling them to discounts on hotel room tariffs and restaurants outlets in all member hotels on reciprocal basis;
- HAI LEGAL SERVICES which enables members to avail benefits of highest calibre legal advice on issues of concern them and interventions on their behalf in courts.
HAI has successfully institutionalized the concept of celebrating annual green weeks in hotels to exhibit its commitment to conservation of environment through use of bio-degradable and environment-friendly products by efficient management of waste generated and by adopting measures for efficient utilization of day light to conserve upon electricity etc. HAI has this year celebrated its ninth annual green week, reaching out to large number of tourists, employees, their families, school children and society with its environment message