Gateway Hotels and Resorts, a part of the Taj Group, will open at least five new contemprary hotels in metro cities in India in the next two years, a top company official has said.
Five Gateway Hotels are in the final stages of construction at Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Faridabad, besides Hubli and will be ready in the next two years, Gateway Hotels and Resorts COO P K Mohankumar said.
The Chennai hotel would be the first one to be opened and will commence operations by March 2013, he said.
"The plan is to have multi-locational presence in each metro city. These hotels would have modern architecture and contemporary design. Also, in the pipeline are more Gateway City Business hotels in Tier-I and Tier-II cities," he said.
Management contracts have been signed for another 10 hotels in various locations, including Kholapur, Mumbai, Chandigarh and Pune, he said.
Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces is one of Asia's largest group of hotels, comprising 99 hotels, including 22 Gateway hotels, in 56 locations across India with an additional 16 International hotels, including in the Maldives, Malaysia, Australia, USA and Sri Lanka.
The 22 Gateway hotels also includes 11 resorts. A new resort is coming up at Shimla.
The Gateway hotels are getting more business class travellers from India and Asian countries, including China, Singapore and the Phillipines.
Mohankumar said Gateway was upbeat about further development in Kerala.
Taj group has eight properties in Kerala and another hotel is expected to be ready in two years time at nearby Kakkanad.
Stating that Hotel brands are not investing in assets and are providing only technical expertise, he said: "We give them (hotel owners) technical expertise in architecutre, design, interior design. After completion, a management contract is signed. We bring in the brand to manage assets and this is how the future hotel business is going to be".
Mohankumar said Kerala has the potential for more business hotels. The need now was for international class convention centres, he said, adding the state should become a 365-day destination.Like Goa, which is sold out even during off season
and has 80-90 per cent occupancy in the monsoon, Kerala should market itself well, he said.
To make the state more attractive destination, government should look at making ground handling charges at airports and taxes more competitive, Mohankumar,also Executive Member of Federation of Hotels and Restaurants Association (FHRA) said.
Mohankumar said Kerala should aggresively promote Ayurveda treatments during the monsoon.
"We must make Ayurveda Sukhachikilsa