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Thursday, 27 November 2014

With Modi now a global star, Vibrant show is houseful.........

AHMEDABAD: Vibrant Gujarat seems to have outgrown Ahmedabad after Narendra Modi became Prime Minister.

So much so that the state government is taking on rent every accommodation available — from dharamshalas for drivers and other staff, to seven-star hotels for top leaders and CEOs. Moreover, iNDEXTb is setting up 300 luxury tents close to the Mahatma Mandir. The air-conditioned tents will boast of the fixtures of high-end rooms.

Saurabh Patel, the state tourism minister, said: "Considering the huge inflow of tourists for the Vibrant Summit events, we are proactively dealing with the accommodation challenge." Patel said since the number of hotel rooms available in Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar was insufficient, all possible options were being considered. "Apart from establishing a tent city, we are organizing accommodation at bungalows and service apartments, and also booking home-stay facilities," he said.

Hotels are packed to capacity a month before the start of Vibrant Gujarat and related events. The government expects over 5,000 guests for the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (January 7-9, 2015); over 10,000 for the Vibrant Summit (January 11-13, 2015); and 70,000 for Plast India (February 5-10, 2015). The total room inventory across all categories - budget, mid-scale and upscale — in Ahmedabad is about 2,500 rooms, so severe shortage looms during the events.

"Some 87% of rooms have been booked in advance for Vibrant Gujarat," said Rohit Tiwari, GM of Narayani Heights. "We have hired 50-60 personnel to meet demands of the surge."

Hotels have increased tariffs by up to 20% to cash in on the busy period. "During the Vibrant summit, rates are steep," said Alex Koshy, the general manager of Radisson BLU. "That is because the demand is higher than supply as international and national conferences are scheduled during the period. Besides, the time is considered ideal for weddings." Indeed, for January and February, bookings for wedding have gone up by 15-20% this year compared to last year.

Rajesh Sinha, of GSK Hotels, which manages Regenta, said the hotel has recorded about 60% bookings, including NRIs.