Coronavirus: OYO has reached out to over 15 embassies to accommodate stranded tourists
OYO Hotels and Homes, the Gurugram-based unicorn has reached out to over 15 embassies to support stranded foreign tourists and travellers. OYO aims to support the Ministry of Tourism in efforts to secure shelter for all travellers in need across the country.
It has also offered to provide support to frontline medical staff, airline crew, corporates, tourists, PGs, etc who need accommodation. OYO is currently in touch with 15 diplomatic missions in India, and has already helped stranded foreign tourists from the US, Brazil, Belgium, Portugal, Australia, Chile, Argentina, and Indonesia in availing accommodation during the nationwide lockdown. For this purpose, OYO is using properties cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Rishikesh, Pondicherry, Ranchi, Hyderabad, Jodhpur, and Jalandhar.
Ritesh Agarwal, Founder and Group CEO, OYO Hotels and Homes, said in a press statement shared by the company, “These are testing times for the world and we at OYO, too have been deeply impacted by COVID-19. Both revenues and occupancies have dropped. We want to do everything possible to ensure we can provide reliable accommodation to persons stranded — be it tourists, travellers, PGs, essential service providers, while maintaining the highest standards of hygiene and safety for guests, employees and asset partners."
He further added, "As a hotel chain, it is our responsibility to demonstrate ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ during these testing times. We are grateful for the efforts of each and every professional whose role requires them to be at the forefront of India’s fight against COVID-19 and we want to do our bit in this fight.”
On March 24, the Ministry of Home Affairs laid down guidelines for the 21-day nationwide lockdown, stating that hospitality services will be suspended except hotels, homestays, lodges, and motels that are accommodating tourists, and persons stranded due to lockdown, medical and emergency staff, sea, and airline crew. It also drew an exception to establishments used/earmarked for quarantine facilities.
OYO set up a swift response team to understand the requirements of stranded tourists, initiated contact with embassies, guests, and the Ministry of Tourism. OYO is also maintaining the Ministry of Health and WHO ordained guidelines of hygiene and sanitisation.
The company has also been providing regular updates to said embassies on the wellbeing of the foreign nationals. The team added in the press statement that they are focusing on a two-pronged strategy to minimise the possibility of infection, and maximise social distancing and hygiene.
Some of OYO's hotels are being identified to partner with hospitals for setting up safe, pay per use quarantine facilities. And some others are focused on providing safe shelter to local and foreign tourists and travellers who are stranded in cities owing to the lockdown.
Commenting on this development, Gustavo Westmann, Head of the Trade and Investment Office, Embassy of Brazil to India, said, “By having one of the largest networks of hotels in the country, the team of OYO has been able to provide solutions to Brazilian citizens with different budgets, in different locations around the country, with professionalism, and a great commitment to social responsibility. We appreciate the efforts promoted by OYO and the partnership with the Embassy of Brazil in India.”
OYO employees across the globe have also come together to set up an OYO Welfare Fund, proceeds of which will be used for the benefit and welfare of the employees at OYO properties, asset partners and their staff members in due to the COVID-19 pandemic or the consequent restrictions. This fund will also be used for the welfare of the community at large when faced with difficult situations in the long run.
The Royal Thai Embassy said in a press statement shared by the company, “The Royal Thai Embassy in New Delhi lauds Ritesh Agarwal’s startup-OYO for opening doors to its hotels to all the foreign nationals stranded in India during this unprecedented crisis. On March 30, 2020, our Embassy reached out to OYO, to seek accommodation for Thai nationals stranded in the city of Amritsar. The request was attended to with kind consideration and utmost professionalism. Staff at OYO are working 24/7 to ensure that each and every request for help is promptly attended to. Thanks to OYO for staying committed to support Indians and foreigners stranded across all the cities in India in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
(Edited by Kanishk Singh)