Besides the signing of a new property under a franchise agreement with a local partner in Kolkata, Dusit is in talks with other potential owners and is on course to conclude at least four more signings within the next 12 months, Lim Boon Kwee, chief operating officer, Dusit International told ET.
Dusit International, which has hotels in markets such as the UAE, China, US, Maldives and Egypt besides Thailand, had previously entered India through a joint venture agreement with Bird Group in March 2007. The separation agreement concluded in March 2018.
“We parted ways amicably as we decided that our philosophies are different in terms of operations. India has the second largest population in the world. We see a huge potential for international brands with Indian outbound travellers at our hotels in the Middle East and China. Currently we have 39 hotels in operation. Out of these we own nine hotels,” said Kwee.
Dusit International has appointed Deepika Arora as its regional representative for South Asia and Africa. Prior to this, Arora was regional vice president, Eurasia at Wyndham.
Kwee said the chain is looking at brownfield opportunities and will look at both franchising and management agreements to expand in the country. The first hotel could come up next year, he said. The chain expects the Kolkata hotel to be operational by 2023. It will be under the Dusit Princess brand. He said besides Dusit Princess, the chain hopes to bring the other brands as well if it finds the right fit in terms of locations, partners and assets.
“Covid will not derail our plans. Hotels are a long term business and in the long term, Covid will pass. We have been in this business for the last 70 years. We are going to be in this business for a very long time. We will continue to invest and go after deals,” he said.
Elite Havens, a 100% subsidiary of Dusit International which is into luxury villa rentals and management has also launched its operations in Goa. Kwee said the chain will also expand through the company. “We manage close to 300 villas in Asia through Elite Havens including villas in Japan, Thailand, Sri Lanka as well as Indonesia and now India. Besides the hotels, we will also expand through villa management,” he added.
Kwee said business for the chain was decimated in the second quarter this year as markets such as the US, Europe and major countries in Asia closed their borders.
“In the third quarter we are seeing the opening of many of our properties within the domestic market. Going forward, we don’t see international traffic coming back to our properties until the first quarter of next year,” he said.
“Resorts in destinations such as Phuket, Koh Samui and Chiang Mai were getting 80% business from international traffic. The contraction in Thailand’s economy is phenomenal because the dependency on tourism is almost 22%,” he said.
“So we have to diversify, restructure and reposition our business. Post Covid, we expect people to travel but not as much. Domestic market will be key for most players,” he added.
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2 Comments on this Story
Nathan Ron63 days ago
Who is the majority owner of Dusit Group. CEO has a Chinese name and not a Thai name??
Shri Mahesh64 days ago
very nice. welcome back, friends