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Remarks by Deputy Chief of Mission Ambassador Arun K Singh at AAHOA Convention 2012 - Atlanta

1. The Asian American Hotel Owners Association “AAHOA” represents the best in the hospitality industry and related sectors in the United States. With more than 50% ownership of all hotels and motels in the United States, the Indian America community has played a commendable role in the success of hotel industry in US through its leadership of AAHOA.

2. Hospitality and Tourism is a domain of immense potential in terms trade and investment cooperation between India and the United States. A by-product of this cooperation would be additional strengthening of our existing robust and vibrant people to people links.
3. Driven by its fast growing economy, and rise in per capita incomes, India is currently experiencing a boom in domestic tourism, both in terms of numbers and market size and market segments. 

4. Of the total market size of US$73 billion, domestic tourists in India account for about 83%.  They also account for about 52% of revenue.  Strong new innovative products such as wellness and cruise tourism are being created with equally strong government sponsored promotional campaigns such as “Incredible India” and “Athithi Devo Bhavah”  to harness the full potential of tourism in India. 

5. A key pillar of the tourism sector in India is its rapidly growing hotel industry, which is estimated to have grossed over US$ 4 billion in revenue last year. The commercial opportunity for AAHOA and its membership resides in the fact that the strong growth in India’s domestic and other tourism is coupled with increased government focus on developing hotel related infrastructure across all business categories including five star, four star, three star, two star, and one star segments, and in the heritage hotel segment. 

6. Various studies estimate a demand-supply gap of about 80,000-100,000 rooms (some studies put it at 150,000) in India, especially in the mid-size and budget hotel segment. This is a clear investment opportunity for hotelier members of AAHOA, either on stand-alone basis or in partnership with Indian businesses.

7. Large domestic and business travel, India’s growing externalities, and strong connectivity between the Indian population and its Diaspora overseas are all variables that create a business opportunity for the hotel industry.  On its part the Government of India has put in place smooth and facilitating policy framework in which 100% FDI is allowed under the automatic route in the hotel and tourism related industry.  Periodically, other incentives including on taxes have also been announced by the Government.

8. In addition to investment, India is also an important destination to source hotel supplies from, particularly linen and cutlery and other miscellaneous articles. Indian exporters already have strong business connections in this field in the United States.  We would be happy to work with AAHOA and its membership to further strengthen our trade based cooperation in this field.

9. The economic and social developments in India make it a strong business opportunity for AAHOA, both through trade and investment. AAHOA members have played a pioneering role in the development of hotel industry in the United States.  They can be a strong player in the development of hotel industry in India, and thus also be an important stakeholder in fast growing India-US Strategic Partnership.