May 12: Birgunj, which is considered as a major trade route for the country, has sixty hotels of medium to small scale in operation. In the recent period, investment in the hotel sector in Birgunj has observed a tremendous growth. However, the hotel business here is booming not because of tourists but due to business meetings.
Hari Pant, chairman of hotel and tourism entrepreneurs association of Birgunj, says hotels in Birgunj are sustaining their business because of the guests of business houses but not tourists.
“The hotels so far have been operating their business depending on the guests of industries and their business activities. They now need to extend their service targeting tourists as well," he added.
Diyalo Lords Plaza, a three-star hotel in Birgunj, was established with Rs 1 billion investment and is likely to receive a four-star status very soon. Anil Kumar Rungta, owner of Diyalo Lords Plaza, says he invested in the hotel believing Birgunj to become a tourist destination in future.
Previously, VVIP guests travelling to Birgunj were to travel twenty six kilometers away to Hotel Ichhya, Simara in absence of posh hotels. But now Diyalo Lords Plaza is expected to make the stay of VVIP guests remarkable within the city.
Hotel depended on industries
According to Pant top ranking business entrepreneurs and auditors coming to Birgunj and nearby industrial areas are mainly the targeted customers of the hotels in Birgunj and the hotels are benefiting from the ongoing construction of new industries being established in Bara-Parsa industrial corridor.
Hotel entrepreneurs inform hotels in Birgunj have received more than Rs 20 billion investment. According to the entrepreneurs the hotel business in Birgunj will be at risk if they have to continue the business depending on the guest of the industrial sector.
"We should work to find ways for brining tourists or else hotels won’t be able to sustain additional investment," Pant added. He further said that the hotels are already having tough competition for service charge.
"In the hotel business we sell services rather than commodities which is why we are observing tight competition. In the last one year alone six new big hotels have opened here for," he added.
Birgunj for marriages
In recent time the number of people arriving Birgunj from India for marriage ceremony has increased. Due to the lack of hotels in Raxaul (the closest Indian border to Birgunj) most of the Indians come to Birgunj and conduct the marriage ceremony. Such events have become a good source of earning for the hotels which almost earn Rs 1 million per marriage. According to sources the hotels in Birgunj charge comparatively less than the hotels in major Indian cities . The Hotel and Tourism Entrepreneurs Association has plans to conduct promotional campaign from Betiya, Darbhanga, Motihari, Narkatiya, Patna in Bihar to Kolkata of Bengal. The association aims to conduct “Let’s Go Birgunj” promotional campaign in the region.
According to Pant, small scale hotels have also been benefitting from the casinos operated by big hotels in Birgunj. The customers of casinos have been using the services of small hotels for accommodation. Hotel Vishwa, Suraj and Diyalo Lords are operating casino business in Birgunj.
Pant further informed that hotels in Birgunj have also profited from the 'no alcohol policy' of the Bihar government. People from Bihar regularly visit hotels in Birgunj for consuming alcohol after the ban.