What kind of occupancy levels are you experiencing at the hotel these days?
Around 70 per cent occupancy in our hotels in Bhubaneswar, 90 per cent in the resort in Chilika Lake and 95 per cent plus in our resorts in Gopalpur.
What has been the situation before and after the pandemic?
Post-pandemic we are doing much better than what we are doing pre-pandemic. Our financial turnovers are almost 40 per cent higher than what they were pre-pandemic. There was a trend of staycation during the pandemic and we got a lot of business through it, especially at our property Swosti Chilika Resort and it is still trending. At present, the core business we get is from weddings. We are sold out till February 2023 for weddings happening at our properties.
What measures do you undertake to be sustainable?
As far as possible, we have tried to avoid the use of plastics in our hotels. Saving water is a prime job of the staff. It is also written in all the rooms ‘Save a drop of water. Save a life’.
How do you contribute to the local community?
The suppliers of our products are the local people. Most of the local people are employed in the hotels. We have employed around 1200 people across our four properties. Our Chilika Lake hotel is situated in the village of Odia Alapur. Seventy per cent of the staff is from the village. The milk, vegetables etc. used at the hotel is purchased from the villagers. Chilika Lake, which is the largest lake in Asia in the Northern Hemisphere and is 1100 sq. km, is known for its seafood. The local fishermen catch fresh lobsters, prawns and fish and sell them directly to the hotel. They are also benefitted as they need not go to the market to sell their products. Our guests too enjoy the fresh seafood.
How strong is your F&B business?
Chilika is known for seafood, which is also the USP of all our hotels. Swosti Premium and Swosti Grand are known for their multi-cuisine speciality.
Any upcoming properties of the Swosti Group?
Our latest upcoming project “Swosti Premium Beach Resorts” is a five-star deluxe property in Puri and the expected date of opening is January 27, 2024. Swosti Group has also diversified into hospitality education by the name “Swosti Institute of Management and Social Studies”. Our staff is employed in most of the star hotels across the country as well as in Dubai and many Middle-Eastern countries. My message to all the Hotel Management Institutes is that the future of these students is very bright. After the pandemic, students were not taking admission for Hotel Management. The hotel industry in India is now booming and a lot of new hotels are coming up as well.
What are your views on Odisha Tourism?
Odisha tourism is very aggressive now in terms of eco-tourism. We have the ‘Odisha Travel Bazaar’ in the last week of October which will host B2B meetings. Over a hundred agents will be attending this event. They are promoting tourism through road shows across the states and the Government is more active now than before as far as promotions are concerned. Another big step taken is the beautification of the Jagannath Temple, and beaches in Puri. Puri will soon have an International Airport and the Government plans to make it a world-class destination.
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