Category Archives: Interviews

Budget 2018-19 is not indicating any impact on the hospitality sector: Shipra Sumbly Kaul

Shipra Sumbly Kaul - General Manager, Holiday Inn Express & Suites Bengaluru Racecourse

Shipra Sumbly Kaul, General Manager at Holiday Inn Express & Suites Bengaluru Racecourse, says, “We can see that the budget scenario is focusing more on agriculture. It is also looking at improving infrastructure, facilities and health benefits for the lower income strata. The attempt to preserve and protect heritage cities is remarkable and might help boost tourism. Currently, the budget is not directly indicating any impact on the hospitality sector. There might be some indirect impact, which we need to wait and watch once the policies are executed.”

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Single window required for hotels and restaurants: Gaurav Singh

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Gaurav Singh, Multi-property General Manager, Courtyard by Marriott and Fairfield by Marriott, Outer Ring Road and Fairfield by Marriott Rajajinagar, Bengaluru says, “While every year the budget speaks on promoting tourism the steps we take thereon are not aligned to support the industry, the sector is still viewed as elitist and attracts the maximum taxation which cannot make sense if the focus for the country is to improve its foreign arrivals. We seriously require to reduce the taxation to support growth – with the overall tax rate applicable on tourism and hospitality offerings being relatively high in India in comparison with other countries, this will help bring things more at par with the help of streamlining GST. The other major focus needs to be on ease of getting clearances and a single window is required for hotels and restaurants to operate, currently requiring upwards of 40 different licenses to run the business.”

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60 crore to push airport capacity is too little: Ajay Bakaya

Mr. Ajay Bakaya, MD, Sarovar Hotels at the launch of Singhania Sarovar Portico Raipur

Ajay K. Bakaya, Managing Director, Sarovar Hotels & Resorts, says, “The positives in the budget are rail infrastructure, Bharatmala project, impetus to farmers, Heritage City Development, and healthcare. The move towards solar energy and operation green are welcome. However, 60 crore to push airport capacity is too little and nothing concrete has been done to combat pollution. The lack of relief in taxes to companies with a turnover of below 250 crores and taxing long term capital gains are also in the negatives.”

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Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham to open 20 hotels across India in a decade

Deepika Arora, Regional Vice President, Eurasia, Wyndham Hotel Group 2

India is a key market for Wyndham Hotel Group within Eurasia as well as globally. Deepika Arora, Regional Vice President, Eurasia, Wyndham Hotel Group,says, “We expanded our footprint in India and neighbouring countries with 11 new hotels. Two-thirds of the new hotel openings were in India thus re-enforcing our presence in the country’s rapidly growing mid-market hospitality segment. Our hotel pipeline in the region also grew with 15 new signings. We also signed a non-exclusive development agreement with Ahmedabad- based Nebula Infraspace LLP, to develop at least 20 hotels under the Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham brand across India over a period of 10 years.”

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Lemon Tree India plans big for this financial year

Rattan Keswani - Deputy MD, Lemon Tree Hotels - Director, Carnation Hotels Pvt. Ltd.

Lemon Tree to open five hotels in management and four in ownership space. Rattan Keswani, Deputy Managing Director, Lemon Tree Hotels, says, “In management piece we are opening around five hotels in the next three and a half months and In the Ownership piece, this financial year, we are opening four hotels. We will be opening a hotel in Sohna Road, we have taken on two running hotels in J&K and there is another on in the build. So we are opening up in Srinagar, Gulmarg and Jammu. All these three should be ready in the first week of March. In the summer, we are opening in Aligarh and Coorg. Also, Siliguri, we will open towards the end of February or early March. In the owned piece, this fiscal we have Pune, we have our first hotel in Mumbai, Kolkata and then we have a hotel in Dehradun coming up. These are the committed pieces that will come along.”

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IHG to bring Hotel Indigo brand to India: Pascal Gauvin

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IHG is going to bring Hotel Indigo brand to India in the coming years. Speaking on its expansion plans, Pascal Gauvin, COO, IHG, India, Middle East and Africa, says, “We hope to bring our lifestyle brand, Hotel Indigo in the coming years. Each time we launch a brand we look at mega cities, but with time, it can go to multiple locations. It depends on what our owners want to do with the brand. I am very hopeful about our Indigo brand for this market. This brand feature unique design at every turn without compromising guest comfort. A vibrant modern colour palette, complemented by natural light and locally influenced design and decor, make for an inviting, stylish and refreshing atmosphere for everyone.”

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Waldorf Astoria Cancun and Hilton Cancun Resort to open in 2021

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Hilton has announced plans to welcome the luxury Waldorf Astoria Cancun and the all-inclusive Hilton Cancun Resort to the global hospitality company’s growing portfolio in Mexico. Developed by Parks Hospitality and set to open in 2021, the neighboring properties will feature distinct characteristics and amenities across 100 acres of Caribbean beachfront. “With more than half of our Latin America portfolio present in Mexico, we are proud to announce the plans for Waldorf Astoria Cancun and Hilton Cancun as we continue to introduce distinguished properties in the world’s most sought-after destinations,” said Juan Corvinos, vice president, development, Latin America and the Caribbean, Hilton. “Representing our luxury and upscale brands respectively, Waldorf Astoria Cancun and Hilton Cancun will offer guests a taste of Mexican culture fused with Waldorf Astoria’s uncompromising sophistication and Hilton Hotels & Resort’s flagship hospitality.” Set to deliver a truly unforgettable experience for guests, the Waldorf Astoria Cancun will feature 150 exceptionally appointed guest rooms and suites, with waterfront or mangrove-facing terraces and private balconies. The property will boast the signature Waldorf Astoria spa, integrating Mexican healing traditions with native ingredients for indulgent treatments, in addition to state-of-the-art fitness facilities, two plunge pools and two exquisite dining experiences. For an unforgettable taste of Mexico, guests will also have the opportunity to enjoy the locally sourced Yucatecan cuisine that will be offered at additional dining experiences throughout the property. A one-of-a-kind beachfront escape, the neighboring all-inclusive Hilton Cancun resort property will feature 600 stylish guest rooms offering stunning panoramic views. The Hilton resort will welcome guests to relax on the beach, lounge at the swimming pool complex, and experience curated adventures in local art, gastronomy and culture. The hotel will …

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MBD to open a property in Bengaluru in a JV with Steigenberger

Sonica Malhotra - JMD MBD Group

MBD will be opening a property in Bengaluru in a JV with Steigenberger. Sonica Malhotra, Joint Managing Director, MBD Group says, “We did JV with Germany’s largest luxury hotel operator, Steigenberger Hotels, which is a big breakthrough for the group. They made us the India counterpart for them. We are looking after the entire affair of managing the MBD Steigenberger India. With this, it’s not just about a brand name for hotels we own but we are also going to doing management of other people’s assets. We already have done four LOIs across MBD Steigenberger including Intercity Hotel which is the mid-market brand, also MBD Express which is going to be breakfast category in our hotel division. We will be opening a property in Bengaluru which is under construction and will take three years to open.”

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Sterling Holiday Resorts launches new brand identity

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Sterling Holiday Resorts has launched its new brand identity in line with its new service philosophy of delivering experiences and discoveries. Ramesh Ramanathan, Managing Director, Sterling Holiday Resorts Limited, shared that with the new branding, they are looking to become the leading holiday brand in India. “Today, we are not just opening a new chapter for Sterling but one in the Indian holiday market. We have been working on developing our new service philosophy and brand standards over the last few years and are now ready to make our customers ‘holiday differently’.” He added, “At Sterling, we are look forward to being a part of this new India that is looking to have newer experiences and take away a little bit of what they see and feel when they holiday. Over the past few years, we have invested in the revamp of existing resorts and launch of new ones. Our focus will be on delivery and service for all kinds of holidayers. In the process, we would also be contributing to local economies, creating jobs and taking the brand abroad to places where Indians holiday,” Ramanathan added.

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Revenue growth for the Indian hotel industry to improve to 6%-7% in FY2018: Bakaya

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Ajay K. Bakaya, Managing Director, Sarovar Hotels & Resorts expects the revenue growth for the Indian hotel industry to improve to 6%-7% in FY2018. He says, “The revenue growth for the Indian Hotel Industry is expected to improve to 6%-7% in FY2018. The muted supply pipeline across several markets coupled with steady demand uptick will be the driver for the next up cycle in the industry over the next couple of years. The implementation of GST brought in a positive change to the sector by reducing costs for customers, harmonizing taxes, and reducing business transaction costs. With steady occupancy across markets, we are expecting a healthier growth in the coming years and higher movements of business as well as leisure travellers.”

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