Call it Ranchi Tourism League in IPL season.
As the state capital basks in its four-match bonanza — one done, one underway on Tuesday and two awaited — the hospitality industry is playing eager host to the steady stream of cricket buffs from both country and abroad.
Be it budget inns or top-end hotels, tourists from outside the state are booking rooms like seats for a Bollywood blockbuster. Enquiries primarily include hotel distance from the JSCA International Stadium Complex and modes of transportation available.
While a bulk of hotel guests are from neighbouring states such as Odisha and Bengal, there are also others from cities like Delhi and Mumbai who are in Ranchi for business, but more than willing to grab an IPL opportunity during their stay. With the teams packed with international players, Ranchi is also seeing its fair share of foreign tourists.
To help hotels cope with the rush, JTDC is already running an 18-seater AC bus from its office on Main Road to the stadium, 5km away. Some tourists are booking personal cars to reach the stands ahead of others.
“The occupancy is encouraging. We have been booking a month in advance, courtesy IPL matches. The cricket season has turned out to be very profitable for us. We have two guests from Australia, 15 from Calcutta and a few from Mumbai,” said Rajnish Anand, accounts manager of Hotel Green Horizon on Station Road.
Skipper Shane Watson of Rajasthan Royals is from Australia. So are team members Steve Smith and James Faulkner. Chennai Super Kings boasts John Hastings and David Hussey from Down Under, albeit not in the playing XI.
Manager Anand said for the next two IPL matches — CSK-Royal Challengers Bangalore on May 18 and CSK-Sunrisers Hyderabad on May 22 — they were already receiving enquiries via email from Bengal, Mumbai and Delhi. “More than 50 mails have poured in,” he added.
Hotel Satkar, a budget accommodation on Station Road, may not have guests from abroad like some of its elite cousins but is basking in bookings glory nonetheless. A group of 15 people from Odisha are camping at Satkar to watch the matches. “It is boom time. Three cheers for cricket!” smiled hotel staff Sushant Manjhi.
Rajesh Patnaik, a government employee in Rourkela, Odisha, said he chose Satkar for its convenient location. “The hotel is only 6km from the stadium, which is accessible both by public transport and hired private cars. Good service is a bonus,” he added.
Hotel Ranchi Ashoka, another budget lodge, has 24 guests from Mumbai, Calcutta and other cities. “They are here for sightseeing, but do ask about the IPL matches. We book a car if they wish to go and see the world-class stadium,” said Arvind Tiwary, a front office assistant.
High-end Hotel Capitol Residency on Station Road too has encouraging bookings. As does Hotel Green Acres on Airport Road. “We have 10 rooms occupied by guests who are here for business purposes, but are purchasing IPL tickets too,” said Sunny Briyankar, a senior front office assistant at Green Acres.
Shilpi Rani, manager of a tourist information centre in Delhi, confirmed that Jharkhand’s visitor luck was shining because of IPL. “People do enquire about tourist spots like Betla and Netarhat, but the T20 matches have made Ranchi hot and happening.”
Managing director of JTDC Sunil Kumar conceded that sports tourism was booming in the state. “We have directed our officials to help visitors bound for the stadium to hire cars and avail of our special AC bus,” he said.
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