Hotel Lobby Seeks Intervention of Tourism Ministry in Its Dispute with Online Hotel Booking Sites

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The Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) has written to the Minister of State for Tourism, K J Alphons, seeking the intervention of tourism ministry in its ongoing dispute with online travel aggregators (OTAs) Go-Ibibo and Make My Trip (Go-MMT), and hospitality chain OYO Hotels for redressal of their grievances.

In a media statement, FHRAI said that after a month of failed attempts to amicably resolve the issues, it has written to the minister outlining the major issues of concern to the industry because of the OTAs’ unfair and arbitrary business practices. It claimed that a number of FHRAI’s members are experiencing hardships due to the OTAs’ business ethics it claims are “exploitative, unethical and divisive, leading to predatory pricing and other market distortions.”

The letter to the minister notes that “the hotel industry in the country is going through a very challenging phase which is threatening the livelihood, business, investments and entrepreneurial initiative and spirits of the hospitality industry, and thereby eroding the viability of the sector.”

Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, vice president, FHRAI and president, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) said, “The FHRAI has tried to resolve the issue directly with the OTAs, however instead its CEO has chosen to dismiss FHRAI’s role in the matter. It leaves us with no choice but to ask for the Government to step in and create a norm for the OTAs just as the Commerce Ministry has done for the e-tailers recently.”

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