Shangri-La plans 5 more hotels in India
The hospitality company is evaluating locations including Mumbai, Goa, Kolkata and Hyderabad, said its executive VP for the Middle East, India & Indian Ocean, John Northern.
“We are quite conservative as a group. We are not aiming to put our flags in every city. It is about the right location. We have a high number of Indian guests around the world at our hotels and we would love to have more hotels here. We also get approached by potential partners who like the brand,” Northern told ET.
“Of our 102 hotels around the world, 18% are resorts. Goa could be a great place for a resort. We are also interested in Mumbai. We have been evaluating other cities as well, like Kolkata and Hyderabad,” he said.
The company’s hotel in Colombo was among those hit in Sri Lanka’s Easter Sunday attacks, which led to a number of casualties including of its own staff, but Northern said the company is invested in Sri Lanka for the long term and that security arrangements have been revamped in markets like India following the attacks. He said the company chose to take time to reopen the hotel in Colombo on June 15 as it wanted to focus on the well-being of its employees and guests first.
“It was very important for us to look after our staff first before reopening our property. We spent time reaching out to guests affected by the attacks and staying close to them. We also wanted to revaluate the security arrangements and see what measures we could add, and all of those were implemented before reopening the property on June 15. Our commitment to Sri Lanka and both the properties is a long-term one,” said Northern.
“We are working very closely with the tourism authority in Sri Lanka and it’s a long-term commitment to the destination. We are always compliant with local guidelines. We go over and above that, but we have taken further measures in neighbouring countries like India following the attacks,” he said.
Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts would be open to investing in India as well given the right opportunity, said Northern. “Eighty per cent of our hotels are owned by us. We have a fair amount of expertise being an owner operator. We don’t have to exclusively look at management contracts. We have resources to invest in properties if that’s required,” he said.
The company’s pipeline includes upcoming hotels in Bali, Jeddah, Bahrain and Melbourne, he said.