New Delhi: Radisson Hotel Group, the second biggest international chain in India in terms of number of hotels and rooms, will open a new hotel every 20 days in India this year, Nikhil Sharma, the cha- in’s new MD, and area senior VP for South Asia told ET. Sharma said the chain, which aims to have a hotel at every two hours of driving distance in India, is also building its presence in religious destinations and will launch the first globally branded hotels in markets such as Vrindavan, Ujjain and Guruvayur.

“People are visiting religious destinations far more than pre- Covid times. We were the first to launch a branded hotel in Ayodhya before the Ram temple inauguration which clocked an average tariff of ₹1.15 lakh in the first month. It is still sold out on most days and the average tariff is ₹30,000 now,” said Sharma.

Radisson Hotel Group opened the 212 keys Radisson Collection hotel in Srinagar last month, which is the largest hotel in the Jammu and Kashmir region. The chain has over 180 hotels in operation and in pipeline across over 70 locations. Its upcoming hotels will come up in locations such as Saputara in Gujarat, Dhanbad, Nainital and Jamshedpur. Radisson’s recent signings

include new hotel deals for Delhi, Bengaluru, Raipur, Sonamarg, Sonipat, Dera Bassi, Kevadia, Jhansi, Gopalpur and Vizag. About 50% of the chain’s current portfolio of operating hotels lies in tier-II, tier- III and tier-IV locations.

“India lies in Bharat and it’s not the metros. So, if anyone has to grow in this country, they have to be pan national and they have to be in the smaller cities and that’s where our focus is, to grow, and eventually be the largest international operator. We are the second largest in the country currently,” said Sharma. “It’s time to look beyond just tier-II and three locations in this country because the market is ready. The internet penetration is there, the spending capacity is the re. Indians are ready for the inter- national flavour in other lo- cations too. We want to be the first mover from an international perspective to penetrate deeper into the country,” he added. Sharma said the chain will hire at least 3,000 people for new jobs this year. It currently has a workforce of around 16,000 employees.

He said India’s GDP growth, and the growth of domestic tourism, the rise of the Indian middle class, the increase in the number of airports and rail traffic and the improvement in road infrastructure are among factors pointing towards the need to expand. “All parameters are pointing in right direction that India is a sunshine country and first thing that socially, humans want to do is travel,” he added.

Sharma said the Indian hospitality market will reach 200,000 classified rooms this year. “The rates will hold up this year too and demand will continue outpacing supply. My

India lies in Bharat and it’s not the metros. So, if anyone has to grow in this country, they have to be pan national…

Personal view is in the next seven to ten years, India will hit a million classified rooms. Not only inter- national but local brands will expand. There is more space for all of us to grow,” he added.

Source- The Economic Times

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