|By Saurabh Sinha & Himanshi Dhawan,
The Economic Times, IndiaMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Aug. 01, 2011--NEW DELHI -- Water, power and driving space on the roads may remain in short supply, but if there is something the National Capital Region could be flush with in future, it is hotel rooms.
Over the next five years, some of the world's largest hoteliers will be setting up 75 new properties in Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Ghaziabad and Faridabad, increasing capacity by 2.6 times and bringing down room tariffs substantially.
Hospitality consultancy firm HVS has estimated that around 20,000 rooms could be added to the existing capacity of 12,000, and once it reaches the 32,000 mark tariffs in 5-star hotels, sometimes up to Rs 25,000 a night in peak season, is likely to fall by almost half. This, say industry insiders, will also ensure foreigners no longer flock to cheaper holiday destinations like Bangkok, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Among the brands converging here are Four Seasons , Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt, Intercontinental, Accor, Lemon Tree, Dusit Thani and Starwood. Not surprisingly, Delhi, more than any other part of the NCR, is the preferred address.
Hoteliers are making a beeline to the NCR to set up shop. It is expected that in the next five years, more tourists will flock to the region. The Capital by 2015-16 will account for 41 percent of the new arrivals, followed by Noida-Greater Noida Expressway and Gurgaon. Ghaziabad and Faridabad, which are yet to acquire the glamour tag, will account for barely 1 percent.
But as the MD of HVS, Kaushik Vardharajan, says, "The high cost of land in Delhi has made NCR areas like Noida-Greater Noida Expressway and Gurgaon an equally attractive option for hoteliers. Also, bigticket development like the Formula 1 track in Greater Noida will attract visitors."
Vivek Nair, the Leela Group VP, recalls having bought a 3-acre plot in Delhi's upmarket Chanakyapuri for a whopping Rs 700 crore and then spending another Rs 900 crore to build his 260-room property, the most expensive hotel in India ever at Rs 6 crore per room.
"Cost of land is a big issue for new development. We are requesting the government to change its policy of asking successful bidders to pay upfront. Delhi has a shortage of rooms and once the NCR adds 20,000-odd rooms the tariff will fall and stabilize," he says.
In Delhi the biggest hotel hub will be near the IGI Airport where 5,000 rooms in 11 properties, from ultra luxury to budget, are coming up in the first phase of the development of its hospitality district. Delhi International Airport Pvt Ltd (DIAL) has earmarked 90 acres for this.
The world's second-largest hotel group, the Hilton, is going about its projects in Delhi and the NCR by opening new properties and taking over existing ones.
"Currently, we operate four hotels in Delhi and more will open at Mayur Vihar and Gurgaon. Delhi NCR has witnessed continued growth due to the development of the economies of Gurgaon and Noida, and sustained investment in infrastructure," says Rajesh Punjabi, the Hilton Worldwide-India VP.
Hopeful that it'll play out well for everyone, Matthew Cooper, GM of Marriott (Gurgaon), says, "There is a complete under supply of hotels in India, including in Delhi. Two years ago, hotel tariff here was Rs 18,000-Rs 22,000 a night, which is not sustainable. Increase in hotel rooms will rationalize this."
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Copyright (c) 2011, The Economic Times, India
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