Recovery Remains Elusive For Contact-Intensive Services


Rajesh Mudgil, secretary at the Indian Association of Tour Operators, says that for them recovery remains conspicuously absent. Despite the industry’s efforts to gear up, it is in a catch-22 situation. While foreign travel is yet to resume, domestic travelers are making their own bookings to visit areas in close proximity and prefer to use their own transport to the possible extent. Recovery is at least an year away, says Mudgil, adding that even if international travel picks up, India’s population density will remain a deterrent for foreign tourists.

Recreation

While hotels and restaurants were permitted to open from June 8, bars opened later.

For instance, all outlets of The Beer Cafe were opened only by September. From about 42% of pre-Covid sales in September, the cafe has progressed to about 70% now, says Rahul Singh, founder of the chain which has over 40 outlets across at least 10 cities.

While occupancy remains restricted to 50% because of government orders, customers are now spending more when they visit, says Singh, who is also a trustee at the National Restaurant Association of India. Recovery is highest in smaller towns, likely driven by those who have moved back and continue to work from home, according to him.

Pranav Rungta, the head of the Mumbai chapter at the NRAI, also says that business is at about 60-70% of pre-Covid for those restaurants which have opened. But about a fourth are likely to have gone out of business while about 10% are yet to resume operations. Business also remains impacted because of the local government mandates restaurants to close by 11:30 p.m. and restrictions on occupancy, said Rungta.

Beauty And Wellness

Now with gyms finally having opened up, Cure.Fit, with fitness centers across 130 locations, expects a faster rate of progress in the months to come, says Naresh Krishnaswamy, growth and marketing head at Cure.fit. “Overall, we expect to be at 50% of pre-Covid revenue by January-end.” Since at-home workouts have proved effective and convenient, some people might prefer a mix of both at-home and gym workouts going forward, he accepts.

Beauty too is back, says Pooja Sahgal, VP and head of marketing at Kaya. The skincare, haircare and beauty chain is now back at 80% of pre-Covid business from 40% on re-opening in August. By the end of December, Sahgal expects it to reach 90%. The beauty chain is targeting premium clientele who are willing to spend more for safety.



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