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Taj chalks out expansion plans, rides travel revival


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NEW DELHI: Riding high on a strong revival in travel, Taj Hotels is going to expand aggressively its footprint in 2-3 years. While the lion’s share of this growth will be domestic, India’s largest hospitality group is also looking at having a bigger footprint in countries that have a strong Indian diaspora and/or are big destinations for the desi travellers, including North America, Europe and Middle East.
The Tata Group company currently runs two hotels each in the US, the UK and Africa, three in the UAE and eight in India’s immediate neighbourhood.
Taj parent Indian Hotels Company (IHCL) has a portfolio of 242 hotels across brands, including 63 under development across four continents in over 100 locations. It plans to have 300 operational hotels by 2025.
While remaining a debt-free company, IHCL MD-CEO Puneet Chhatwal is planning a shift in the ownershipmanagement contract properties. “IHCL will focus on re-structuring its portfolio to achieve a 50:50 mix between its owned/leased and managed hotels, which currently stands at 54:46,” hesaid.
On global expansion, Chhatwal said, “We are exploring strategic partnership opportunities in key global markets across the UK, the US and Europe, among others, which have substantial customer crossover with India. The Middle East, with locations such as Makkah — where IHCL has a Taj hotel in the pipeline, will continue be a strong focus area for us in the next couple of years for developing our brand. ”
Since the pandemic has shown how domestic tourism is, IHCL is now trying to develop new destinations and is going to open hotels in Lakshadweep and Diu.



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